Britain’s government responded to a Freedom of Information request with a link to an Instagram page about a cat.
Anyone in the UK can ask the government for information held by public authorities. The government are required to respond to every request and are obligated to disclose information about certain activities. However the government is also allowed to withold information if it poses a threat to national security.
However, in one of the latest FOI responses, the UK Treasury told one member of the public to consult an Instagram page of a cat, when the person asked:
“How many cats do you employ and what is either the expected/forecasted costs to feed, house & maintain there professional services annually?”
I can confirm that HM Treasury does hold information within the scope of your request. There is one cat based in 1 Horse Guards Road, at no cost to the taxpayer. Further information is available online at:
and in various media articles which can also be located online.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact us. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.
In the 16th century, King Henry VIII appointed a “chief mouser” — a cat — to guard the Treasury, and get rid of any pesky mice. Currently, Gladstone, the cat on the Instagram page, is one of three mousers in government. He joined Larry, who has been in Downing Street since 2011, and Palmerston in the Foreign Office in July this year.
Here he is:
And apparently, according to the FOI request, the former stray cat does not cost the taxpayer a penny. Buzzfeed previously reported that Gladstone’s food and upkeep costs are being paid by Treasury staff.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.