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No, we\’re not allowed to know who the fat cats are

European rules forcing the publication of details of the people who received farming subsidies and how much they received breached those people\’s rights to privacy, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.

The Court found that when it came to \’natural persons\’, meaning named individuals, the publication of all of those details breached those people\’s rights under the Data Protection Directive and the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).

Ooooh, no laddie. You\’re not allowed to know where the money goes. Just keep giving it to us as we know what to do with it better than you do.

In other news, Tim Worstall has been spotted prowling Brussels, measuring up lamp posts and stroking a length of hempen while crooning \”Soon, soon my lovely\”.

9 thoughts on “No, we\’re not allowed to know who the fat cats are”

  1. Interesting. Doesn’t this mean that Richard Murphy’s proposal for a public register of beneficiaries of trusts would also be a breach of those individuals’ Human Rights?

  2. UK Liberty – agreed. As long as the information does not identify the recipient by name, address or other identifying info, it should be OK.

    Data protection should be no excuse.

  3. This sounds similar to the rules when I was working on tax – couldn’t identify individual taxpayers, or individual companies.

  4. As a farmer I was a bit miffed when they said they could publish all the financial details, despite Data Protection etc a few years ago.

    But as its public money I do think people have a right to know. Just as I have a right to know how much Family Tax Credit you get, or Disability Allowance, or how much you’re allowed for that new Mobility car, or how much salary you get from the Sate as well.

    Fairs fair. If you can see how much I get from the public purse, I should be able to do likewise to you.

  5. “Fairs fair. If you can see how much I get from the public purse, I should be able to do likewise to you.”

    Indeed, fair’s fair. Myself, I get nil

  6. Jim, I can see the case for privacy, in that if people’s income from the state is public knowledge, some people might well be under a lot of pressure from their family members, or unrelated scam artists. I hear what you mean about fair’s fair, but I’d rather deal with this by not publishing details about individual farmers’ subsidies.

  7. Simple rule: You can do what you like with your money and I have no right to know anything about it. Neither how much you get, nor upon what you spend it.

    When it’s my money however, I demand to know exactly how much has been spent and where every penny went.

  8. @Remittance Man: I quite agree. I have a theory it would concentrate quite a few minds in the benefit claiming classes if details of ALL public funds paid to individuals were openly available. If everyone in your street knew what you got, and you were defrauding the Social, the chances of being dobbed in rise dramatically.

    Single mothers who ‘forgot’ to tell the DSS that their boyfriend lives with them might have second thoughts for example, and someone fraudulently claiming disability allowance for a bad back would struggle to hide his regular games of golf or digging his garden. If the chances of being caught rise sufficiently, the whole system becomes self policing.

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