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Health campaign councils invest £167m in tobacco firms

Health campaign councils invest £167m in tobacco firms  

Councils across the East of England that are to take on a lead role in NHS anti-smoking campaigns, have invested more than £167m in tobacco firms.

The figure was revealed after a BBC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to county councils about their pension fund investments.

In the eastern region, Hertfordshire has the highest amount of money in tobacco firms with £44.6m invested.

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Nic Rigby | BBC | 15th June 2012

Freedom of Information request reveals Post Office cuts

The collection figures are not published as a matter of routine, but were disclosed after a Freedom of Information request by shadow postal affairs minister Ian Murray. Robert Hammond, director of postal policy at Consumer Focus said:

“Against a backdrop of rapidly declining mail volumes the closure of some post boxes is understandable. However, customers must be made aware of these changes and there must be an alternative post box nearby.

Post box closures or changing collection times should not result in problems with access or a lower quality of service for customers. This is something that we will be discussing with Royal Mail.”

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ITV News | 16th June 2012

Welsh Government refuses to reveal spending on procurement cards

The Welsh Government has been criticised over its refusal to disclose details of spending authorised by Ministers and their private office staff on official procurement cards.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Welsh Conservatives sought a detailed breakdown of flights, hotels, meals and any other items purchased by Ministers or their private staff during the financial years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 so far. But the request has been rejected on the basis that it would cost too much.

The Government Procurement Card (GPC) was introduced in 1997 as a way for government bodies to make low-value purchases. A GPC is a payment card which individuals can use to purchase goods and services; the supplier is paid immediately and the balance is paid in full each month by departments.

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Martin Shipton | Wales Online | 15th June 2012

County asking for more information, more time on Wexner land swap

As the public comment period on the proposed Wexner land exchange nears a close, Pitkin County officials have called on the Bureau of Land Management to release additional information and to extend the comment period by two months.

County manager Jon Peacock sent a request to the BLM on May 29, citing the federal Freedom of Information Act, requesting extensive BLM documents related to the controversial land exchange.

The official public records request specifies “all documents, records, communications and correspondence” related to the proposed exchange, dating back to 2006. Peacock also asked for all BLM correspondence with the Wexners’ Aspen attorney, Gideon Kaufman, and the Wexners’ consultants from Western Lands Group.

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Andrew Travers | Aspen Daily News | 15th June 2012

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