£40k spent hiding how rarely northern powerhouse minister visited north

From The Guardian: The Tory government has spent two years and £40,000 of taxpayers’ money trying to hide how little the northern powerhouse minister visited the north of England in his role, in what one prominent northern figure called “a blatant disregard for the principles of democratic accountability”.

In February 2016 the Guardian submitted a freedom of information (FoI) request to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) asking how regularly James Wharton, who had then been northern powerhouse minister for just over six months, travelled outside London.

The department flouted a requirement to respond to the request within 20 working days and did not provide a response for more than four months – at which point it denied the application.

The Information Commissioner’s Office then undertook an investigation, during the course of which it found that the department adopted “what appears to have been a strategy of wilful procrastination in order to obstruct a request for information”.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]