Government accused of burying bad news on last day of term

The Times has accused the Government of using the last day before MPs go on holiday to rush out a string of negative reports and 26 ministerial statements.

The paper cites Whitehall sources saying that many of the reports were ready to be published weeks ago but were held back until yesterday.

The Daily Mail splashed with the story, describing a “blizzard of bad news” slipped out as MPs prepare for their 82-day summer break.

Bad news released yesterday included revelations about the £32bn plunge in the Government’s tax take, £140m of army payroll errors caused by a dodgy IT system, a highly critical report on the Human Rights Commission and its decision to re-hire as consultants staff who had just taken hefty redundancy cheques and a Government training scheme costing £1.5bn which was slammed as a waste of money by the National Audit Office.

It is not the first time the Labour Government has been accused of burying bad news.

In 2006, some 23 journalists wrote to the Home Office to protest at what they called “research Thursday”.

It was what they claimed was the dishonourable tactic of releasing an avalanche of, often negative, reports in one day with the result that home affairs journalists were overwhelmed and unable to give the information the attention, or column inches, they thought it deserved.

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