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Liberal Democrats to propose amendments to controversial Freedom of Information bill

August 6, 2012 4:50 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Willie RennieWillie RennieScottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has today said the Scottish Liberal Democrats will seek to make changes to a controversial SNP-led Freedom of Information (Amendment)(Scotland) Bill currently making its way through Parliament.

Yesterday, the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) published parts of its submission to the Finance Committee, which argued for the SNP to go further in strengthening the public's right to know.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have continuously argued that the Bill be widened to cover arm's length public bodies.

Commenting, Willie Rennie said:

"Far from being an open, transparent government, the SNP are increasingly showing disregard for freedom of information. These bodies spend the public pound without facing the public's right to scrutinize.

"The Bill is far too limited and should be extended to cover a wider range of government bodies currently not covered. The Scottish Liberal Democrats will be proposing amendments to the bill and campaigning to knock down these last bastions of secrecy.

"This campaign is right to focus on the timidity of the Bill as we have learned how Freedom of Information has a direct impact on everyone's day-to-day lives. A failure in the NHS led to lessons not being learned about patient deaths, the SNP government has tried to hide information on whether Scotland would be a part of the EU or not in an independent Scotland. Even this week we heard of a patient who missed cancer screening because of mishandling of patient records.

"The Bill must be extended. The financial and social costs involved from not extending the legislation are too great."

Further information about the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) can be found here: www.cfoi.org.uk/scotland