Coalition pledge audit 'a cover-up'

Maldon and Burnham Standard: A dossier detailing progress on coalition pledges has been published by the Government A dossier detailing progress on coalition pledges has been published by the Government

The Government has published an audit of its own record in power, which Downing Street claimed showed the coalition had achieved or made progress towards the "vast majority" of pledges it made when it took office in 2010.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the 119-page assessment gave a "full, frank... and completely unvarnished" assessment of the coalition's performance and showed "a record to be proud of".

But Labour dismissed the document as a "cover-up", which made no mention of the double-dip recession and missed borrowing targets, while glossing over issues like the controversial reorganisation of the NHS and tax cuts for the wealthy.

At the first session of Prime Minister's Questions of 2013, Labour leader Ed Miliband branded Mr Cameron "a PR man who can't even do a relaunch", adding: "Half-way through this Parliament we know they are incompetent, they break their promises and the nasty party is back."

And the Institute for Government think-tank said the document fell short of the kind of audit it had been calling for and lacked credibility because of the absence of independent scrutiny.

The audit, entitled Programme for Government Update, was produced as an annexe to the coalition's Mid-Term Review, but went unmentioned when Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the review with great fanfare on Monday.

Its existence only came to light when one of the Prime Minister's aides was spotted carrying a document which appeared to suggest publication had been delayed to avoid overshadowing hoped-for favourable coverage of the MTR. Conservative chairman Grant Shapps said the delay was due to the need to fact-check the 36,000-word document.

Describing it as a "warts and all" assessment, Mr Shapps said: "We have gone out and deliberately tried to be as transparent as possible."

But Labour vice-chair Michael Dugher said: "The document David Cameron tried and failed to cover up is now itself a cover-up. There's no mention of his Government's failure on growth, of the double-dip recession or of £212 billion extra borrowing.

"It tries to gloss over David Cameron's broken promises on the £3 billion NHS reorganisation and 7,000 fewer nurses, and doesn't even mention his tax cut worth £107,000 for 8,000 millionaires while millions of hard-working families on low and middle incomes are paying more. This is a Government that lurches from failure to fiasco. They promised change but things are getting worse, not better, and they stand up for the wrong people."

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