If Government has nothing to hide, why not supply full Budget documentation- 2010 Budget

Posted on Tuesday, 15 December 2009

To accompany the Budget the Government normally publishes a detailed set of documents and tables explaining the Budget measures. Budget 2010 marked a significant departure from this tradition.
The published Budget book (i.e. the paper version) is the shortest in many years and does not contain much of the normal detail.

Bizarrely, the printed Budget book did not even provide readers with the detailed changes to effective income tax levels, examples of the public service salary reductions (even though the Minister cited this in his speech), the capital programme features and the changes to social welfare rates. Some of these figures have been made available on-line, but in limited format.  The spreadsheets, for example, that were normally available as soon as the Minister for Finance completed his Budget speech were not made available on Budget Day despite repeated requests.
Despite promises for a more transparent and clear Budget process, Budget 2010 represents a major step backwards. It should not be repeated.
The failure by the Department of Finance this year to supply the usual data and documentation elaborating on the Minister for Finance’s speech raises serious questions concerning issues as wideranging as competence and transparency.
If Government has nothing to hide, full information should be available promptly.