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The day in FOIA: Doctors avoiding tax, Camden “locking out” the vulnerable from social housing and the CIA’s drone secrecy

High-earning doctors avoiding millions in pension taxes

More than 200 Doctors have avoided paying millions in tax on their pensions by ‘retiring’ for as little as a day and then coming back to work.

They are each saving themselves up to £75,000 by using a loophole called ‘24-hour retirement’ to circumvent a change in tax rules for very large pension pots.

Daily Telegraph investigation using Freedom of Information (FoI) requests has found more than 200 doctors who appear to have temporarily retired, potentially to avoid paying tax.

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Olivia Goldhill and Stephen Adams| The Daily Telegraph | September 23rd 2012

It’s social housing – so why are the needy locked out?

People with a history of mental health problems are being excluded from social housing built in one of Europe’s biggest inner city regeneration projects.

The developers and local council behind the central London development have also set quotas for the number of homeless and unemployed people who can live there, an investigation by Corporate Watch and The Independent has found.

In what critics have described as a “crude exercise of social engineering” extra limits have been placed on the number of families with children who will be allowed to live in the 500 social housing units under construction at King’s Cross Central, while those with drug and alcohol problems or in rent arrears have also been excluded.

The exclusions – which have been unveiled in a series of freedom of information requests – are a departure from the usual points-based allocation process, which aims to let social housing to “those who are in the greatest housing need”. Mental health problems and homelessness would usually increase an applicant’s points total and position on the housing register. The King’s Cross Central homes will be let through Camden’s allocation scheme, but anybody who does not meet the special criteria will not be able to bid.

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Richard Whittell and Jerome Taylor| The Independent | September 24th 2012

Shahzad Akbar: ‘Drone strikes are extra-judicial killings’

The CIA is fighting against handing over information on its deadly drone campaign to ACLU—which demands that information under The Freedom of Information Act– because the agency does not keep a record of whom its drones target to kill.

“First of all, CIA is not handing information because CIA does not have any information on who they are killing,” Shahzad Akbar, director of Foundation for Fundamental Rights, told Press TV’s U.S. Desk.

The ACLU has taken the CIA to court arguing that the agency’s refusal to confirm or deny it has records on the drone program is unlawful.

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Press TV | September 22nd 2012

Seals shot in salmon sanction

THE number of seals shot by “government licensed killers” on Scottish fish farms can finally be revealed.

The Scottish Government has released figures through a Freedom Of Information request that shows 310 seals have been shot across eight fish-farms who hold a shooting permit.

But the government has withheld the names of the individual farms for fear of causing an uprising amongst animal welfare groups.

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Deadline News | September 23rd 2012

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