FOI Disclosure Stories 14 – 20 September 2009

MPs accused of failing to pay their Commons food bills – The Times 17/09/09
“British MPs have run up unpaid bills in the House of Commons’ subsidised restaurants and bars totalling almost £140,000. More than half of all MPs – 329 of them – have outstanding debts averaging £419 for wining and dining on their Commons tabs, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Government pays 26 million pounds for bank protection advice – Reuters 15/09/09
“The government has paid banks, lawyers and other advisers 26.5 million pounds for work related to setting up its scheme to insure risky assets held by two banks. Investment banks Citi (C.N) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and asset manager BlackRock (BLK.N) were among seven firms to be paid for advice, according to a Treasury response to a Freedom of Information request by Reuters. Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) plan to insure about 585 billion pounds of their risky assets through the government’s asset protection scheme (APS.L).”


£1.6m ‘wasted’ on scrapped road upgrade – Gazette News 16/09/09
“A TOTAL of £1.67million of taxpayers’ cash was spent on plans for a dual carriageway on the A120, which were later scrapped… The £500million proposal was axed in July, after the East of England Regional Assembly and East of England Development Agency said it was unaffordable.”

BBC Wales bosses’ costs published
– BBCi 15/09/09
“The salaries and expenses of some of BBC Wales’ most senior managers have been made available following a freedom of information (FOI) request… Salary ranges for board members included: Menna Richards, director, BBC Wales – salary band £160,000 to £190,000; Gareth Powell, chief operating officer – salary band £100,000 to £130,000…”

Government officials overpaid by £1.5m
– Yorkshire Post 14/09/09
“Officials at a Government department have been overpaid more than £1.5m, it has emerged. In one case, a civil servant nearly doubled their salary. The unnamed official at the Ministry of Justice was handed an extra £18,500, on top of annual earnings of £22,000. Freedom of Information Act requests revealed more than 1,000 staff at the department were overpaid a total of £1,522,995 over the last three years – but more than half that total will never be paid back.”


NHS ‘spending millions’ on equipment for obese patients
– The Herald 15/09/09
“Health boards are spending millions of pounds on special equipment to treat obese patients, the Liberal Democrats have claimed. Figures obtained under Freedom of Information showed that health boards had spent almost £4.4 million in recent years on items such as extra wide beds, wider bedside chairs and wider wheelchairs… The figures showed health boards have spent more than £1.3 million on extra wide beds suitable for obese patients, while bosses at NHS Fife spent £79,500 on larger tables for operating theatres.”

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