Cost of democracy? £24,000,000
The government wants to change the rules about Freedom of Information because the current system is too expensive.
How expensive is “too expensive”? £24m per year.
Sounds like a bargain to me.
Wisely, many are suspecting that it’s not about cutting costs but is more about trying to cut down on the amount of information that is being ‘set free’.
FoI requests are denied if they cost more than £600 to process, but Lord Falconer, who is in charge of Constitutional Affairs, wants to include more things within this cost calculation, thereby making more claims ‘too expensive’ to process.
This is really bad news and a number of MPs seem to agree.
Organisations like the BBC could actually be given a set limit on the number of FoI requests they make each year. If that doesn’t sound like creeping Stalinism then I don’t know what does.
The government’s never liked the Freedom of Information laws it introduced. It watered them down once they got into government, and has been doing their best to make them ineffective ever since.
This time it might just succeed in its wish.