EXCLUSIVE: Opposition parties and journalists spend £750 000 of taxpayers’ money trawling for bad news. ‘BBC demands’ increase by more than one thousand percent!


A Freedom of Information request for data on the sources of demand for information from government departments, by TuS, has revealed that around £750 000 has been wasted on trawling for ‘scandals.’ This does not include the many requests made directly to such as local authorities, health boards or Police Scotland.



The average cost of a Freedom of Information request has been estimated at £234, so:

  1. The total cost of requests from all these groups trawling for bad news is around £750 000 since 2009.
  2. The costs incurred by opposition parties, often then fed to Reporting Scotland, the Herald and the Scotsman, is more than £300 000 and they are using such methods increasingly.
  3. The costs incurred by the newspapers such as the Scotsman and the Herald which often announce that they have done so, and then fed to Reporting Scotland, is nearly £400 000 and increasing steeply.
  4. The demand for information from TV broadcasters, mainly BBC judging by their own announcements, and had increased by 1600% in 2017.
  5. An unnamed political blog has made 10 such requests in the last year. Which is it? This was the first from TuS.

While there are legitimate reasons for some FoI requests, we know from the scare stories that were constructed out of a few of these that this is money not well-spent.



10 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Opposition parties and journalists spend £750 000 of taxpayers’ money trawling for bad news. ‘BBC demands’ increase by more than one thousand percent!

  1. gavin February 23, 2019 / 8:56 am

    Any request for Freedom of Information stats, later used for commercial or political purposes, should be billed for half of the cost of the trawl.

    Why should the public (me) be expected to bear the cost, for the likes of the Scotsman, BBC or Alex Cole-Hamilton, when they will benefit politically or financially from the information?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jim brown February 23, 2019 / 9:12 am

    We need to start playing the game only then can we have balance.


  3. bigjon999 February 23, 2019 / 10:59 am

    Report of a speech by Willie Rennie and a quote from it:
    “To those in Scotland yet to decide, I say why settle for what you know is not right when you could forge something new that is worth fighting for? ”
    Hmm – has he changed his mind about supporting Independence for Scotland?

    Liked by 2 people

      • gavin February 24, 2019 / 9:58 am

        You really would struggle to make this up.

        Wee Wullie wants MSP’s to breakaway from the Labour/Tory parties and join his Lib Dumbs—-so as they can later forge coalitions with —Labour/Tory party governments.

        Hilarious stuff, even for the blustering Mr Rennie!


  4. Gerry Robertson February 23, 2019 / 12:50 pm

    John, people regardless of whether they want an Indy Scotland or not owe you a great debt of gratitude for the seemingly tireless work you do to expose the lies and deceit that seems is all too prevalent in the Scottish media. Many many thanks

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Keri February 24, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    Perhaps an idea would be to charge an institution fee, for requests, like they do at universities who pay a yearly subscription in order to access journal articles, books, databases etc. This would relieve the burden on the tax payers, also generating income. Of course this is a tentative step I realise we the ordinary people must be able to acces FOI. I see no reason why institutions, media and opponents should be able to use the service for less than altruistic ideals.


    • johnrobertson834 February 25, 2019 / 10:25 am

      Yes, good idea I think but what about university researchers not supported by their management? Thinking of myself back in 2013.


  6. Ludo Thierry February 25, 2019 / 5:48 pm

    Noticed this report on the beeb Suffolk page – Hopefully the ‘Scottish’ msm will note the ‘substantial’ damages the Times Newspapers are having to shell out to Dr. Dan Poulter MP and just try to bear in mind that EVERYONE has the right to retain their reputation until a court of law says otherwise. Link and snippets below:


    MP Dan Poulter wins damages over Sunday Times sex assault claims

    An MP has been given an apology and won “substantial” damages from a newspaper that published false claims he had sexually assaulted three women.

    The Sunday Times had reported that Dan Poulter had put his hand up the skirts of three female MPs.

    It told the High Court on Monday there was “no truth” in the claims, offering “sincere and genuine apologies”.

    Mr Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said it had been “a horrendous episode”.

    He said: “These utterly unfounded allegations were published against me at a time of enormous frenzy about the supposed misconduct and wrongdoing of various MPs.

    “Like many of the lurid claims made against numerous MPs at that time, they have been proved to be entirely without foundation – as I always knew them to be.”

    Thanking friends and family for their support, he added that he was “delighted” to now be able to continue with his work as an MP and mental health doctor.

    Under the settlement, Times Newspapers will pay Mr Poulter damages and his legal costs, and will remove the online articles and associated tweets.

    Oliver Murphy, representing Times Newspapers, said: “The Sunday Times offer their sincere and genuine apologies to Dr Poulter for having published the articles complained of, for the damage these publications caused to his reputation and for the personal distress and embarrassment that their actions have caused him over the past 14 months.”


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