Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Wednesday, 16 January 2013

FOI (Amendment) Bill passed unanimously

MSPs voted unanimously to pass the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill after a debate on the legislation on 16 January 2013.

The legislation will update the public's right to scrutinise how taxpayers' money is spent.

The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill is designed to bring the original decade-old Act up to date with recent developments, but some MSPs and campaigners say it does not go far enough.

Infrastructure, Capital Investment and Cities Strategy Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the bill was an "important landmark in the life of freedom of information" but "not the end of the journey".

Ms Sturgeon said the bill would modify the Freedom of Information Act 2002 and was intended to "add strength and clarity" and improve the operation of the FOI legislation.

Labour MSP Paul Martin said the bill was a "missed opportunity" and expressed disappointment that all but one of his party's amendments had been voted down.

Mr Martin said despite the difference of opinion between his party and the Scottish government his party would back the bill.

Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, also expressed disappointment saying it was a "timid response" and that the Scottish government's reputation on freedom of information was damaged following going to court on EU advice and a local taxation system.

Gavin Brown, speaking for the Conservatives said the amended bill was "superior to the original" with the "notable exception" of removing the royal exemption from the bill.

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