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Government should be more transparent about how taxpayer's money is spent

27 June 2018

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee repeats its call for Government accounts to show whether the Government has met its spending commitments.

209 ministerial spending commitments

The Committee has identified 209 separate spending commitments made by Ministers in 2017, but concluded that it was too difficult to know if the money had been spent as promised. This report calls for the government to publish this information in department's annual reports.

The Government promised a review of how government department's annual reports and accounts are produced in response to an earlier report from the Committee. In its new report published today PACAC sets out what the review should cover to make annual reports useful for Parliament and the public in holding the government to account.

The Committee also calls for the review to include independent representatives from outside the Government or Parliament to make sure accounts are useful to the public.

Chair's comments

Chair Sir Bernard Jenkin said:

"The Government needs to recognise it must be much more transparent about public spending. We recommended fundamental changes to the way that the Government reports its spending last year. Today's announcement of a review is good if it leads to the change Parliament requires.

The Government must rethink its opposition to publishing what happened after Ministers promised to cut or spend money. Our research found 209 ministerial spending commitments in 2017. It is unrealistic to expect 209 FOI requests or select committee inquiries to investigate the results of each statement but that is what the Government thinks should happen.

Without this, the Government will not be fully accountable for delivering money when it makes announcements of new funding or cuts to funding. We need change."

Further information

Image: PA