Firstly, thank you for following up on my letter about local government spending on trade union activities. I shall indeed be following this up with Hillary and monitoring the situation closely and lobbying for change.
I was pleased to see that Nick Clegg has announced an extension to the FoI act to cover, as I understand it from the Daily Telegraph:
Among the institutions expected to become subject to the laws are: the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, academy school trusts, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Local Government Association, the Advertising Standards Authority and Network Rail.
This is indeed a good move and one which is to be applauded and supported. However I fear it doesn’t go far enough as there appears to be one category of recipient of tax payers’ money that isn’t being held to account, what is often referred to as fake. If you are not familiar with the term these are charities that receive all, or most, of their funding from Government departments and then use that funding to lobby Government to change the law to suit their own often self righteous prejudices. It often gave Labour a smokescreen when introducing their illiberal laws, which usually involved the banning of something and further reducing personal liberty, by claiming that it had the support of “charities”.
As the Tax Payers Alliance said in their statement on the subject:
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.
With that in mind I would like to ask you to push for a simple amendment to any new Bill or secondary legislation to include the following simple statement:
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
Obviously the security services would be exempt, but this should just about cover everyone else spending our hard earned money.
Following on from a post on the tireless campaigner Dick Puddlecote's blog I've just written to my MP: