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This House believes that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 exists to, amongst other things, help hold the Government account and improve the public's understanding of what it does; notes that a 2012 Justice Committee inquiry applauded the Act as significant enhancement of our democracy and that, in 2010, the Prime Minister expressed the intention that the Government should become the most open and transparent in the world; further notes that the existing FOI framework has led to the exposure of significant wrongdoings and information including the MPs' expenses scandal, how care home residents suffer dehydration-related deaths, police use of tasers on children, the degrading treatment of detained migrants, and how many NHS contracts are awarded to private companies; applauds the way in which the FOI Act has been used by newspapers and local and national journalists to shine a light on the workings of government and public authorities; is concerned at reports that the Government wants to water down FOI legislation with measures making it easier for authorities to refuse requests on cost grounds, introducing fees for requests and new restrictions on the release of information relating to internal Government discussions; considers that strengthening the Ministerial veto will not improve the FOI Act but will instead encourage secrecy and undermine accountability; and calls on the Government to drop its plans to amend the FOI Act on the basis that there is no value in fixing something that is not broken.
Total number of signatures: 40
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