Cabinet Office Statement on Trading Funds

Trading funds are public bodies mandated to make money using public sector information. Unfortunately, they hold the most useful data – land registration (held by the Land Registry), mapping (Ordnance Survey), weather (Meteorological Office) and sea charts (UK Hydrographic Office) – so charging hefty fees greatly stifles many civic projects.

I received this statement from the Cabinet Office which shows the government is still committed to restricting public access to this data. As stated in my article, restrictive copyright of public information actually ends up costing the taxpayer much more, both economically and in terms of social welfare.

“The Government does not regard the status or funding of Trading Funds as an obstacle to the re-use of government information and has no plans to make changes.

“Trading Funds in the UK were established to be self-supporting whilst also making a return to the public purse by selling services. If they were unable to charge for information services that have a potential commercial value, they would either need public funding, which would increase costs for the taxpayer, or they would be forced to reduce the amount or quality of the information they provide.

“Under the UK Regulations on the re-use of public sector information, trading funds, like any other European public sector bodies, may charge for the re-use of public sector information. The Regulations state that the charges should not exceed the cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of information as well as a reasonable return on investment.”

– Cabinet Spokesman (Stephen Coomber)

One Response to “Cabinet Office Statement on Trading Funds”

  1. Mr K says:

    Yeah right… like anyone’s going to have the money to pay Ordnance Survey’s data collection costs!

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