More evidence FOI saves money

In the previous post I disagreed with the stand the Taxpayers’ Alliance has taken on the use of Ordnance Survey data, but I can’t complain about their recent letter to the Guardian in which they support freedom of information as a net taxpayer savings.

Friday November 3, 2006
The Guardian

We reject the government’s argument that freedom of information is a waste of money (Stepping back into the dark, Leaders, October 30). In fact, freedom of information is the cheapest, most efficient way to hold politicians and public services to account. We have used the act to investigate how taxpayer money is spent and lobby for greater efficiency.

Bonfires of taxpayer money have been wasted due to corruption, inefficiency and bad decisions on projects such as the Millennium Dome, the NHS IT programme, the part-privatisation of the tube and railways – projects that were formulated in secret. Unlike the millions spent by government on press officers, regulators and quangos, FOI is a democratic and powerful tool that gives every citizen a right to hold officials to account at virtually no cost, and with the potential for massive savings.
Matthew Elliott
Chief executive, TaxPayers’ Alliance; author, The Bumper Book of Government Waste

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