Brown’s economic data under attack

The Treasury’s refusal to reveal key data it has fed into the Economic
Modelling Computer is being challenged by Birmingham Yardley Lib Dem MP John

He has appealed to the Freedom of Information commissioner against the
official claim that they are justified in keeping the budget assumptions secret.

Hemming said: ‘When people do maths exams they are supposed to provide the
workings. The civil servants in the Treasury, however, are saying that their
calculations are secret. I think they are wrong under the Freedom of Information
Act. What have they got to hide?’

John Hemming’s FOI request believed to be the first attempt to analyse the
inputs the chancellor uses for his budget calculations.

The MP said: ‘These vitally important inputs describe the economic
environment that Brown thinks he is working in. It includes, for instance, his
assumptions about oil prices over the course of the year.’

The Treasury explanation is that producing the data ‘would in future inhibit
officials/experts in providing sufficiently free and frank advice’.

Hemming added: ‘I have a mandate from my constituents in Birmingham Yardley
to hold this government to account. How am I to do my job if Mr Brown plays
hide-and-seek with his figures?’

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