Friday, 7 January 2011

Haven't You Forgotten Something, Nick?

The Taxpayers' Alliance yesterday lauded Nick Clegg's proposals to extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

[...] it was extremely welcome news this morning that the coalition is planning to extend the UK’s Freedom of Information laws. Nick Clegg has announced plans to make bodies such as the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Advertising Standards Agency, Network Rail and the Local Government Association subject to the legislation.
But hold on, there's a large tranche of government handouts missing from that list, isn't there?

Our report on Taxpayer funded lobbying and political campaigning found that many organisations like Alcohol Concern were dependent on the Department of Health for the vast majority of their funding. Nick Clegg should be commended for this move but it’s crucial that bodies such as these are included in the broadened scope of the Act if taxpayers are to be given full information on public spending.
Ah, that's better.

Indeed, we're talking here of the ever-increasing state-funded fake charity phenomenon. Since 1997, we have seen a massive expansion of 'the third sector' as Labour actively shovelled funds their way to perform tasks that the civil service or other public sector bodies used to do. That's why you see Cancer Research UK employees seconded to the Department of Health, for example.

You pay for this through your taxes, yet such organisations can ignore any and all requests for information on how they spend it.

Why Clegg is so shy about mentioning charities at this point would seem to be a mystery until one takes into account the much-trumpeted 'Big Society'. Cos that's all based on voluntary work, isn't it, and charities would fall into that category (well, not the ones we talk about here, natch, but they're conveniently snuggled under that umbrella).

OK, we know Clegg is full of horse shit, but this is one area where he cannot be allowed to wriggle free so easily.

They receive our money. They spend our money. They should be accountable as to how they use it. There are no two ways about it.

So, either they allow the average taxpayer - err, me, for example - the power to demand answers from those who tend to routinely ignore inconvenient correspondence, or the organisations should be allowed to keep their privacy ... by getting their grubby mitts out of the public purse.

What could be fairer than that, eh?


Carl Minns said...

I came to this from a similar but different angle. All that is needed is a very simple sentence in the bill that says

" All third parties in receipt of public money will be expected to comply with the freedom of information act with regards to the use and management of public funds"


I am Stan said...

Yo Dickie!,

He`s a one that Cleggover eh!,my squeeze voted Libdumbs, against my advice,I told her "they`re all bullshitting bastards" but she insisted Nicky Boy was "honest and just wants a chance".

Now every time he`s on the box I tell her "your mates talking to you",she gets cross and shouts abuse at him and the dog starts barking HAHAHAHAHA!

I`ve got to laugh or I`d cry.

Smoking Hot said...

Hah ... try getting an FOI from the UKBA and see how far you get. :)

How often do we hear "lf you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to hide or fear" ?

Of course that only applies to us mere citizens ... not these fake charities and gov depts.

SimonF said...

Hi Dick, I've just used some of your links and the sentence from Carl in a letter to my MP. He's a Tory muppet but to be fair last time I wrote to him he took up my complaint with the relevant departments.