TfL Cover Up Cost of People’s Vote’s Dodgy Tube Advertising

Transport for London are under fresh scrutiny over the ads they’ve allowed People’s Vote to plaster all over the tube, breaching TfL’s guidelines against political ads. TfL’s response was that the ads were allowed as they didn’t “promote a cause associated with a specific political party”. Would the rules be bent this far for a campaign Sadiq Khan wasn’t a “leading supporter” of?

Now TfL have been challenged under the Freedom of Information Act to reveal how much People’s Vote paid them to run the ads. TfL revealed that the two People’s Vote ad campaigns had a combined ‘rate card value’ of £66,000 but refused to reveal how much they actually paid, claiming that the “public interest” and “openness and transparency” were “outweighed” by the fact that “the disclosure of the the negotiated rate would prejudice the ability to maximise future revenue from advertising”Conveniently hiding whether or not they gave People’s Vote an unduly favourable rate for the deal…

However, TfL appear to have misread the original FoI request and applied this ‘Section 43(2)’ exemption incorrectly. The FoI wasn’t asking about negotiated rates, it was simply asking for the total amount of money spent on the ads. The total figure alone doesn’t reveal the negotiated rate People’s Vote paid since that depends on exactly how many adverts they ran and where. So there’s no sensitive commercial information that would be revealed – time for TfL to start following the rules and come clean on exactly how much they charged People’s Vote…

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