Cameron: Tory government will make more data public

David Cameron will today promise to dramatically improve access to government information, to give the public more power over the state.

Citing the impact on Westminster of the Daily Telegraph’s publication of MPs’ expenses claims, the Tory leader will say that the flow of information is “critical” to the balance of power.

He will promise that a Tory government would publish vital data in 20 areas within a year of its election.

Areas covered may include the performance of schools, hospitals and police, road traffic statistics, crime data and the salaries of executives on unelected quangos.

The Tories would also introduce a new “right to data” allowing the public to request information in further areas, he will say.

In a speech at Imperial College in London, Cameron is expected to say: “A radical redistribution of power also means increasing our power over the state which means advancing political accountability.

“Information is power – because information gives people the tools to hold the powerful to account.”

He will point to the recent protests in Iran, which have been assisted by technology such as Twitter and YouTube, and the Daily Telegraph’s revelation of MPs’ expenses as examples.

“What the Daily Telegraph did – the simple act of providing information to the public – has triggered the biggest shake-up in our political system for years,” he will say.

“Information alone has been more powerful than years of traditional politics.

“Of course it has been a painful time for politics and for individual politicians – but let us be clear, it is without question a positive development for the country.

“It is information – not a new law, not some regulation – just the provision of information – that has enabled people to take on the political class, question them, demand answers, and get those answers.”

He will say that most of the information available from the more than 100,000 public bodies in Britain was not available to the public.

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