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The Day in FoIA: The UK military’s revolving doors and local councils braced for non-payment of tax

MoD staff and thousands of military officers join arms firms

Senior military officers and Ministry of Defence officials have taken up more than 3,500 jobs in arms companies over the past 16 years, according to figures that reveal the extent of the “revolving door” between the public and private sector.

The data, compiled by the Guardian from freedom of information requests, shows how the industry swoops on former officials and military personnel once they have left service, with hundreds of senior officers being given jobs every year.

The figures for 2011-12 show 231 jobs went to former officials and military personnel – a rise from the previous year’s total of 101. Another 93 have been approved since January. In total 3,572 jobs have been approved since 1996. Read more.

Nick HopkinsRob Evans and Richard Norton-Taylor | The Guardian | 15th October 2012

Local authorities expect half of poor residents to refuse to pay council tax

Local authorities have conceded that up to half of people on low incomes will refuse to pay council tax after being caught in the net by benefit changes next year, and that there is little they can do about it.

Under coalition plans to reduce council tax benefits 2 million low-income workers will face an average bill of £247 a year from April – a charge from which they are currently exempt.

But the sums are so small – on average less than £5 a week – that councils are warning it “would in many cases be uneconomic to recover, with the costs of collection, including legal recovery costs, being higher than the bill”. The result is that councils are budgeting for large losses and potentially leaving the door open to widespread non-payment.

A series of freedom of information requests by False Economy, a campaigning group part-funded by trade unions, found that the two dozen councils that responded were resigned to seeing swaths of residents refusing to pay the tax. Read more.

Randeep Ramesh | The Guardian | 15th October 2012

Fall in children held in Gloucestershire police cells

The number of under-16s held in custody in Gloucestershire has fallen by 68% over five years, a BBC investigation has found.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed 2,764 young people were held in police cells in 2007.

The figures show the number had dropped to 874 in 2011.

Gloucestershire Police said the fall was due to the introduction of restorative justice and an overall drop in youth offending. Read more.

BBC News | 15th October 2012

Cleveland Fire Brigade number of cars under attack.

The number of cars in Cleveland Fire Brigade’s vehicle fleet has come under attack from a group of independent councillors in Middlesbrough.

A Freedom of Information request made by the independent councillors has shown the fire brigade has 63 cars.

The independent councillors say “it cannot be right” for the brigade to require that number of cars. But the brigade says the cars are the most economical way of providing a range of services across the area. Read More

Sandy McKenzie | Evening Gazette | 15th October 2012


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