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Budget details held back by Treasury press office

March 25th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Finance journalist Chris Wheal reports that the Treasury press office will not provide him with figures showing how much worse off families will be as a result of the budget.

Wheal recorded a conversation with a press officer from the Treasury (and then uploaded this to Audioboo) when he called back to double check that the figures, which apply to a graph within the budget report, would not be released to him.

In the conversation Wheal is told the figures are available, but will not be published for two weeks.

Let’s be clear on this: The Treasury knows it must release the figures under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. But it knows that a FOI request allows it 20 working days to respond, so it is delaying by less than that. It is using a freedom of information loophole to delay giving taxpayers information it could – and should – publish instantly.

The Treasury press officer has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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