Between 28-30 November, the First-tier Tribunal will hear Spotlight on Corruption’s appeal – against the British Business Bank (BBB) and Information Commissioner – calling for the names of companies that received Covid-19 loans to be released.
The case will shine a light on decisions taken by the Government that are set to cost the taxpayer many billions of pounds – including its wholly inadequate approach to countering fraud in public bailouts. If the names had been published back in 2020, as we and other civil society organisations recommended, these huge public losses could have been avoided. Publishing the names now would help to reduce the level of fraud, maximise recovery of public funds and provide important lessons for future bailouts.
George Havenhand, Senior Legal Researcher at Spotlight on Corruption, said:“Transparency about who receives taxpayer-backed loans is central to preventing fraud and to holding the Government and banks to account. If these names had been published back in 2020, as we and other civil society organisations recommended – when the Government was already aware of the very high risk of fraud – these huge public losses could have been avoided. The UK has to decide whether privacy and commercial confidentiality should really be more important than tackling the vast sums lost to the taxpayer, which could have been spent on investing in public services.”
Notes to editors
- Please see our briefing note on the case.
- The formal name of the case is: (1) Spotlight on Corruption and (2) James Francis Pearce -v- (1) the Information Commissioner and (2) the British Business Bank. Appeals no. EA/2022/0014 & EA/2022/0061.
- The hearing will be held at the First-Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) by video link between 28-30 November.
- You can read our skeleton argument and witness statements from George Havenhand and David Clarke.
- The Tribunal may give a decision orally at the hearing but must also “as soon as reasonably practicable” send the parties a decision notice and written reasons.