SNP attacks ‘ridiculous fishing missions’ for Freedom of Information requests

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The SNP has accused a person who has persistently asked the Scottish Government for information of “wasting taxpayers’ money on ridiculous fishing missions”.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that one unnamed person was responsible for 13.5 per cent of all Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to the Scottish Government. The person submitted 85 requests, six of which went to internal review and one which went to the Information Commissioner for appeal, at a total cost of more than £23,000.

Ms Sturgeon, whose remit includes FoI legislation, was responding to a question by fellow SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn. While the identity of the requester was not revealed in Ms Sturgeon’s answer, First Minister Alex Salmond told parliament last month that “a Labour researcher is responsible for over 14 per cent of all Freedom of Information requests”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Our records show the anonymous requester has submitted 13.5 per cent of all of the requests received between the start of the summer recess on 29 June and 6 November, 2012. The costs to the government are [a total of] £23,387.”

Mr Hepburn said: “Access to information is important, but this one person is just wasting taxpayers’ money. It is ridiculous when the public sector is under real financial pressure.

“Everyone has the right to use Freedom of Information, but there is a responsibility to not waste taxpayers’ money on ridiculous fishing missions.”