Government considers increasing fees for freedom of information requests


The Government today refused to rule out increasing fees for freedom of information requests.

Labour former justice minister Lord Wills pointed to newspaper reports that civil servants were calling for increased charges to discourage people using the Freedom of Information Act.

At question time in the Hose of Lords, he said: “At one point the previous government also looked at increasing charges for users of the Act, but they dropped that proposal when they realised the damage it would do.”

He asked justice minister Lord McNally: “Will you now rule out increasing charges for users of the Act?”

Lord McNally said he had referred the Act to the justice select committee in the House of Commons which was carrying out post-legislative scrutiny.

He told Lord Wills: “It is entirely proper that Sir Alan Beith and his committee should look at a whole range of proposals, including the issue of charging, which other jurisdictions such as Ireland have brought in.

“It is a matter we will look at when we have heard what the post-legislative scrutiny deliberations bring forward.”