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What politicians know thanks to the Freedom of Information Act

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The Freedom of Information Act turned 10 on January 1 (yes, I am a bit late, but I have been in West Wales) and political parties have been celebrating by enthusiastically using the act to find out information.

Hopefully all this enthusiastic use will be reflected in a bit more enthusiastic support for the Act in 2015.

These are all from the second half of December (and mostly the Christmas and New Year period). So they’ve been keeping officers busy in recent months – hopefully they’ll all remember this the next time someone starts complaining about the terrible burden FOI puts on them (maybe by promising some extra resources and reaffirming the importance of FOI (we can but hope)).

Possibly not a comprehensive list, these are just the ones I could find on news websites or on party websites.

Labour

  1. Meals on Wheels provision in England drops by 63% 
  2. Londoners charged the most in parking fines in the UK 
  3. Childcare costs nearly half the average salary
  4. Free schools’ failure to attract pupils is creating educational crisis

Scottish Labour

  1. Ministers accused of leading ‘luxury lifestyle’ with hotel stays

Welsh Conservatives

  1. New figures show how councils across Wales are meeting behind closed doors (and original press release here)
  2. Private ambulances help cover calls more than 500 times in Gwent
  3. First Minister: Not On the Buses
  4. £840,000 of patient meals binned untouched – Christmas embargoed press release seem to be based on same request as this one with data revealing wide variation in cost of Welsh hospital meals

Welsh Liberal Democrats

  1. Swansea Council has worst record of any council for blue badge refusals

Scottish Conservatives

  1. Pothole compensation in Scotland hits £2.7 million over five years
  2. Scotland’s school vandalism bill tops £1m (see original press release here)
  3. Thousands hospitalised after animal attacks
  4. Thousands spent on saltires in run-up to referendum
  5. Scotland’s planning authorities receive scores of windfarm bids
  6. Range of weapons used by school pupils laid bare
  7. Problem of performance enhancing drugs exposed
  8. Six people a day make crank ambulance call

Scottish Liberal Democrats

  1. Rennie raises awareness of dog welfare as figures show 1 in 9 unclaimed dogs put down
  2. Rise in admissions amongst young people is clarion call to educate on drug use
  3. Medicine wastage cost £2million in past five years
  4. 1500 patients sent for mental health treatment outside health boards
  5. 11,000 council staff signed off with mental ill health
  6. New figures reveal 35,000 NHS staff injuries

Plaid Cymru

  1. UK Government could keep recouping Severn crossings costs until 2027
  2. Rhondda Cynon Taff social housing tenants £30,000-a-week worse off due to bedroom tax
  3. Digital learning scheme for Welsh pupils is failing to inspire

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