Selective FOI

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It is intriguing to note that the Treasury is withholding information from the public about the impact of an in/out EU referendum on the economy.

During the independence referendum campaign a letter from permanent secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, on the issue of a proposed currency union was published as it was deemed “vital to the national interest”.

Curiously, it has now refused to publish a report given to UK ministers on the impact of leaving the European Union for reasons of “economic interests”.

One can only agree with the comment by former Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, that “it seems to be that [Freedom of Information legislation] is being used here for political advantage”.

If the issue of a currency union during the referendum campaign was deemed “vital to the national interest”, it is clearly difficult to argue that the matter of EU withdrawal is not similarly important.

The Treasury is adapting the rules of FOI to suit itself, and the public clearly have a right to know the economic impact of a referendum that could see Scotland ripped out of Europe and the single market against its will, causing massive damage to jobs and investment.

The UK Government cannot pick and choose what information to release based on its political motivations.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

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