“62% of people want details of the royal family’s public spending to be fully available. “
The Privy Council has refused to provide me with a list of all the Orders of the Privy Council which are part of UK law. I was not even asking for the Orders themselves I just requested a list.
The Privy Council refused on cost grounds.
It would in theory be possible for me to construct my own list by:
(a) visiting the National Archives
(b) visiting the National Library
(c) pursuing my Freedom of Information request restricted to Orders from 1994 onwards
I will certainly be doing (c).
I think there are three general problems here with the British democratic system that need to be resolved:
(1) law is being made by unaccountable bodies and through the exercise of Royal Prerogative by-passing elected law-makers in the House of Commons
(2) the law is not being published in full and in an accessible form
(3) the Freedom of Information Act contains a cost exemption The limit is £600 for central government and Parliament and £450 for other public authorities. It sometimes feels like public authorities know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. There needs to be a mechanism to challenge the cost exemption where the public interests justifies the cost of disclosure.
I can’t believe some of the redaction that has been going on. We are not allowed to know that this MPs on the TV Licence fee receipt the logo of TV Licensing had been removed. Why?
As far as I know only one organisation in the UK can issue TV Licenses did they not think we could figure it out?
I believe this claim in their “A Guide Terms and Conditions” is misleading:
“however long it takes you to repay your loan you will pay no more, in real terms than, you actually borrowed”
This could only be a true if the amount owed was reduced when inflation was negative. I may be wrong but I do not believe that to be the case.
A student could in theory be paying back their student loan at age 64 having left university at 24 a lot can happen to the economy in 40 years, a lot has happened in the last two years!
The explanation of the terms and conditions should not give a one-sided view of what might happen to the economy when describing a financial product.
I know people can read the full terms and conditions but the guidance should be a fair summary.
I have complained to the ASA in case there is anything they can do to clear this up: http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/how_to_complain/
In theTreasury’s response to a Freedom of Information Act they tried to redact some text using black highlighting but if you select the text you can read it!
That’s what I call Freedom of Information!
We now know that: “Sir Michael Peat, The Prince of Wales’ Principal Private Secretary, has written to Dave Hartnett asking HMRC to consider amending the MOU to recognise this expenditure.”
[meaning expenditure met by HRH The Prince of Wales on official engagements carried out by Their Royal Highnesses The Princes William and Harry.]
So all this private correspondence is not just for the benefit of the British Constitution and the National Interest at least some of it appears to be about the financial interests of one family.
But how much influence to the Royals have, did they get their own way? …
“In a little-noticed supplementary document to the Budget, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, announced that the taxpayer would pick up the cost of running an office recently created to support Princes William and Harry.”
Source of quote: Telegraph
Don’t let the Government get away with taking your freedom of information rights away just when they are starting to make a difference. They want to make it harder for you to get information about the cabinet and about royals.
If anything we need more and better rights not less.
“Cabinet papers will be released much earlier than under the current rule, but will be subject to an absolute exemption under the Act until they are 20 years old.”
“To ensure the constitutional position and political impartiality of the Monarchy is not undermined, the relevant exemption in the Freedom of Information Act will be made absolute for information relating to communications with the Royal Household that is less than 20 years’ old. After that … the exemption will continue to apply until five years after their death”