Tag Archives: £600

Why are Tories hiding details of £37bn ‘Test and Trace’ boss’s meetings – on grounds of expense?

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

The hypocrisy is stunning. It seems clear that Dido Harding has done something embarrassing that Boris Johnson wants to hide.

That’s the only reasonable explanation for the Tory government’s decision not to honour a request for details of meetings she held with other people and organisations since taking on the job of running the ‘Test and Trace’ organisation that has cost £37bn so far.

The Tories are saying honouring the Freedom of Information request by the Good Law Project would cost more than the £600 permitted for such matters, but this is ridiculous; these details have been deliberately omitted from a schedule of all meetings held by Department of Health and Social Care officials, ministers and advisers on a quarterly basis.

We can only conclude that the government does not want us to know who Harding has been meeting, what they discussed, and how much money she spaffed away as a result.

£37 billion is an enormous amount of money. Some commentators have suggested that ‘Test and Trace’ is nothing more than a conduit through which the Tories are corruptly draining the public purse, pumping money into the hands of people who are already extremely rich, in order to make sure poor people who really need help are deprived of it.

This response from the government shows that it really has no answer to that.

One appropriate reaction might have been to refer the matter to the government’s anti-corruption champion – but that would be John Penrose MP, who happens to be her husband. People are having doubts that he’ll do his job properly, for some reason…

And they certainly aren’t accepting the Tory line on this:

Some have even gone for the nuclear option – denouncing Harding for a lack of credibility on a stellar scale:

The simple fact is that the government should have published details of Harding’s meetings and chose not to.

This has focused attention on them. People want to know who she met, what was said, whether any money changed hands (without going through the normal tendering process) and if so, how much.

The longer the Tories drag their heels, the worse it will be.

Perhaps Harding could save everybody the bother by going back through her diary and producing a list? That wouldn’t cost £600 or even 600 pennies.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Tory bid to put ‘freedom of information’ out of your price range

140113FoI

It’s a contradiction in terms, but it seems the Conservative Government is trying to impose a £600 price tag on Freedom of Information requests, in order to make them too expensive for the majority of people.

You can understand the reasoning: They did it when too many poor people were succeeding in getting justice – why not do it to prevent us getting information, especially embarrassing information about Conservative government activities?

Fortunately, you can sign a petition to scupper these plans, by clicking on this link.

Here’s 38 Degrees:

The government has a plan that’ll make it harder for us to find out what they’re really up to. They want to introduce fees – of up to £600! – for people who use Freedom of Information laws to find out the truth about what they’re doing. [1] But we’ve got 24 hours to have our say and knock these plans out of the water.

The government has been forced to hold a public consultation on their cover-up plan. They’re trying to keep this under the radar, and aren’t expecting many responses. [2] So if thousands of us feed in, we could overwhelm their consultation and topple these plans to make government information harder to get hold of.

Please could you take a few minutes to send a message to the consultation? It closes this Friday, so there’s just 24 hours left. There’s some suggested text to make it as simple as possible. Every single message we send will make it harder for the government to get away with this cover up.
Yes – I’ll tell the government what I think

The Freedom of Information law means that journalists, academics and campaigners can find out what the government is really up to. The list of scandals it has helped laid bare is endless: it exposed the MP expenses scandal, helped uncover details of historic child abuse allegations and revealed the huge number of NHS contracts being handed out to profit-hungry companies. [3]

The government already have a bad track record on Freedom of Information. The panel they appointed to review the law is stacked with people who’ve already admitted they hate it. [4] Introducing steep fees for appeals on FOI requests is just another attempt to limit the public’s right to know what politicians are up to.

38 Degrees is a movement of people fighting to make our democracy work better. We hold our politicians to account, and make sure that politicians hear the voices of ordinary people. But we can’t do that if we’re shut out. Unless we stop this dodgy cover up, it’s going to be even harder to know what politicians are getting up to in our name.

If thousands of us stand up against these plans, we can make them think twice. Please click here to send your message now:
Yes – I’ll tell the government what I think

Thanks for standing up for our democracy,

Sarah, Cara, Laura and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Have you already signed the petition calling on the Government to protect FOI? If not, sign it here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/freedom-of-information

NOTES:
[1] This applies only if someone’s first FOI request is not granted for any reason – which might be the government dragging its heels. It would cost £100 for a written appeal and £600 for a court hearing.
[2] Panopticon: Circle the Wagons: They are Coming for the Information Tribunal:
http://www.panopticonblog.com/2015/07/24/circle-the-wagons-they-are-coming-for-the-information-tribunal/
Ministry of Justice: Court and Tribunal Fees:Consultation on further fees proposals:
https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/further-fees-proposal-consultation/supporting_documents/Government%20response%20to%20consultation%20on%20enhanced%20fees%20and%20consultation%20on%20further%20fees%20proposals%20web.pdf
[3] BBC news: 10 things we found out because of Freedom of Information:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30645383
[4] Act now training: I Don’t Believe It! Fees for FOI Tribunal Appeals
https://actnowtraining.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/i-dont-believe-it-fees-for-foi-tribunal-appeals/

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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook