ICO faces £43m funding black hole

parliament (2)The proposed changes to EU data laws could have a devastating effect on funding for the Information Commissioner’s Office, creating a £42.8m black hole in its finances, according to MPs.
The Justice Committee found changes to the laws could leave the taxpayer with a multi-million pound bill if the Government does not find a new way to finance the watchdog, although Commissioner Christopher Graham said the large shortfall was a “worst-case scenario”.
Under the proposals, the ICO would face a double whammy of a greater workload, costing £26.3m, combined with the demise of the notification fee payable by all those who process personal information, which brings in £15m a year.
The funding for Freedom of Information requests has already been cut by 23% and there is a planned further cut of 6% in 2013-14, however, FOI requests have rocketed.
Chairman of the cross-party committee Lib Dem Sir Alan Beith said: “Taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for the Information Commissioner’s vital data protection work when new EU rules come into force unless the Government can find a way of retaining a fee-based self-financing system.”
Graham said the committee’s report was helpful, but stressed the £42.8m was “very much a worst-case scenario”. He said: “[The figure] is based on a proposed legislative framework that is ever changing. But sorting out an acceptable system for funding the ICO in the future now needs to be tackled.”

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