Campaign for Freedom of Information
The Campaign for Freedom of Information welcomed today's vote in the House of Lords to bring Northern Rock within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. Northern Rock would have been explicitly excluded from the FOI Act under the government's nationalisation proposals published this week.
The Campaign's director Maurice Frankel said: "The government has argued that Northern Rock should be treated like private sector banks, and not be subject to freedom of information. But the fact that it is being nationalised gives it vast advantages over ordinary banks, puts it at the centre of political debate and makes an irresistible case for full public scrutiny. Publicly owned bodies like Royal Mail, which also compete with the private sector, are subject to the FOI Act - Northern Rock should be too."
The Campaign pointed out that the government has just been consulting on extending the FOI Act to private bodies with public contracts or public functions and said that made it all the more extraordinary for it to exclude a nationalised body which is fully absorbed into the public sector.