Companies which hide behind the law and refuse to disclose information about the services they provide to the Government, local councils and other public bodies will do so no more under Labour’s plans to make them more accountable, according to Alex Cunningham.
Under current laws, companies and other organisations have been able to ignore requests for information about how they run services for the National Health Service, free schools, prisons and local authorities.
Now Labour has confirmed that it will extend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 so that the delivery of public services by private companies and charities will be subjected to the same openness and transparency as those run by the public sector.
Under the current Government, more and more of the public sector is being contracted out to private companies, meaning less and less taxpayers’ money is subjected to the freedom of information legislation.
The Stockton North MP, who is also Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Justice Secretary, has said that Labour’s announcement will correct this anomaly, ensuring that information on every public service is freely available and open to scrutiny regardless of who is delivering it. Labour’s announcement will also aid the detection of corruption and profiteering and will make bidding for public contracts fairer.
“It is absolutely crucial that local people are able to find out more information about how their hard-earned taxes are being spent. With more and more of our public services delivered by private companies and charities, we must have the same levels of transparency and openness from them as we expect from local and central government.
“Labour will change the law, giving people the legal right to information about how their local health services are delivered, about how their local free school is run and about the contracts to empty their bins and clean their streets.
“The Conservative-led Government is content to let these organisations hide behind a veil of secrecy and make vast profits from the taxpayer – demonstrating yet again they are on the side of vested interests and not of individual people. We will put a stop to it.”