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FCO defends £10,000 spend on restuffing 20ft South American anaconda

William Hague has spent £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on re-stuffing a 20ft-long ancient snake, it was revealed yesterday.

William Hague spent £10,000 of taxpayers’ money re-stuffing a 20ft-long ancient snake.

The Foreign Secretary ordered “Albert” the anaconda to be patched up after officials found he was in “poor” condition after decades of neglect.

The exotic artefact was given to Britain by a Bishop in Guyana in the 19th Century.

According to a freedom of information request the Foreign Office has not carried out “significant maintenance” on the snake in the last 40-50 years.

The damage was discovered after Albert was moved from his “suspended position” in the Foreign Office’s Ansell Library for planned refurbishments. Read more.

Tom McTague | The Daily Mirror | 1st November 2012

New report suggests lack of government transparency and openness

Freedom of Information requests have revealed a lack of government engagement with voluntary sector

Compact Voice recently submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests to fourteen government departments.

The requests contained a number of questions that we hoped would establish how well the government was working with the voluntary sector, and how well it was using the principles of Compact – the agreement between government and the voluntary sector, which sets out a number of principles to help them work better together.

A month later, we received replies to our requests. We had thought that the responses would give us a snapshot of how much money was being spent with the sector through grants and contracts, how many consultations had taken place and for how long, and whether adequate notice had been provided to funding changes. Read more.

Tim Elkins | The Guardian | 1st November 2012

Suffolk/Essex: Hundreds of motorists are spared bans despite having 12 points

HUNDREDS of drivers in Suffolk and Essex are still legally on the roads despite having 12 or more penalty points on their licence, shocking figures have revealed.

ccording to statistics from the DVLA, a total of 327 motorists are allowed to drive even though 12 points usually means a temporary driving ban unless it can be proved it would cause exceptional hardship.

The DVLA said courts are able to use their discretion to decide whether or not to disqualify a driver.

A Freedom of Information request to the DVLA showed there were 120 licence holders in Suffolk and 207 in Essex with 12 penalty points or more, as of September 1 this year, but who were still entitled to drive. Read more.

Lauren Everitt | East Anglia Daily Times | 1st November 2012

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