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Freedom of information law must go further

March 31, 2014 3:18 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has renewed Willie RennieWillie Renniecalls for the Scottish Government to expand freedom of information laws to all arm's-length external organisations.

The calls come after new legislation, which expands freedom of information laws to sports and cultural trusts, comes into force tomorrow (April 1st).

Mr Rennie has previously criticised the move for being too timid as it failed to recognise the extent to which arm's-length organisations deliver publicly funded services. The new legislation means that the public is still not entitled to probe the work of publicly funded bodies such as housing associations and schools delivered under PPP contracts.

Mr Rennie said:

"It remains that freedom of information coverage is relatively paltry compared to the number of organisations funded by the public pound. Nicola Sturgeon has previously said that she recognised the appetite for further extension of freedom of information laws. This new legislation must be the beginning of the wider coverage which the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the information commissioner and many others have called for.

"It is therefore disappointing that Nicola Sturgeon has failed to mention when the SNP Government will take the next crucial step towards expanding transparency and accountability. Scottish Liberal Democrats are committed to building a fairer, more liberal society, which gives people access to the information they need to hold public bodies to account."