Tuesday 17 August 2010

Resettlement grants battle

It looks like Lobbydog will be forced to go to the Information Commissioner to get a few facts that should be in the public domain.

Before I nipped off on summer hols I put a Freedom of Information request in with the Commons Authorities to find out which MPs had drawn their resettlement grants and which had not.

At first request I was refused outright, with the authorities ludicrously claiming that to reveal the information would breach data protection law.

This blog demanded a review of the decision and has managed to glean a little more information – 200 MPs have drawn their grants, that’s of 230 odd MPs who left Parliament.

While there are those of you out there who might think the grant – paid to help MPs “adjust to non parliamentary life” – is shameful full stop, I’d suggest there are some instances in which it is more shameful than others.

Some MPs, like Patricia Hewitt for example, walked straight into a very well paid job (or jobs in Hewitt’s case) and have absolutely no need for a payment which stretches in to the tens of thousands of pounds to ‘tide them over’.

However the authorities have still refused to give me a list of those who have drawn the grant and those who have not.

Given that it concerns public money, there is no reason why the authorities should refuse to release information about who has drawn grants, particularly as they have already put out a lot of information on other allowances claimed.

Information Commissioner here I come.

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