18th March 2016

Bolton News Wins FoI Case

The Bolton News wins a three year battle to name councillors' not paying council tax.


The information uncovered by the Bolton News was found out by using the Freedom of Information act.

Dale Haslam, a reporter at the Bolton News, discovered that two elected counsillors' in Greater Manchester had not paid council tax for two consecutive years.

The counsillors' in question only paid their council tax when threatened with court action.

Haslam's reques to name the counsillors' was rejected by Bolton Council in 2012.

Simon Westrop, Head of Legal at Newsquest, said: “This is a victory for principle, but the public has lost out because these mitigating circumstances that were relevant three years ago are not relevant now.

“This confirms to us our experience as local news providers up and down the UK. Local government has not just failed to embrace openness and freedom of information as was intended, actually it does not understand the concept.

“This ruling must send a strong message to the independent commissioners who are at this moment are reviewing the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  Government must learn to trust the public and so strengthen this Act."

 
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