1. ITV Report

Coalition mid-term audit report branded 'a cover-up'

Prime Minister David Cameron, and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Photo: Press Association

The Government has published a mid-term audit of its own record, which it said showed the coalition had achieved or made progress towards the "vast majority" of pledges it made when it took office in 2010.

Last month the Deputy Prime Minister promised a "candid" assessment of the Government's performance, but critics say this did not appear in the coalition's mid-term review on Monday.

The existence of the report only came to light when one of Mr Cameron's senior advisers was photographed carrying a document warning of the potential bad media stories its release might produce.

David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed during Prime Minister's Questions on the content of the document, after Miliband asked why the "audit of broken promises" was not produced on money.

The Prime Minister said the review was a "record to be proud of." The Institute for Government think tank said the document lacked credibility because of the absence of independent scrutiny.

ITV News' Correspondent Romilly Weeks reports:

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 told BBC Radio 4's PM:

We have gone out and deliberately tried to be as transparent as possible. I think we have been honest about the things we haven't been able to do.

Some things we set out to do and we did do - things like cutting the deficit by a quarter or capping welfare or getting immigration down by a quarter or cutting crime by 10%.

But Labour's Michael Dugher said the document was a cover-up as it made no mention of the double-dip recession, or the increased borrowing the Chancellor was forced to make. He 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.

The 122 page report details progress made on all 399 promises made in the 2010 Coalition Agreement. However, no figures were provided on how many promises have been kept and there is no classification system within the document to show the extend of progress.

Among the areas where the audit appears to acknowledge that the Government has fallen short of initial promises were:

  • Plans to put patient representatives on the boards of Primary Care Trusts. These plans have been abandoned.
  • Plans to transfer responsibility for serious economic crime from three existing bodies into one national agency. These plans have been abolished.
  • Early legislation" to create a power for voters to recall misbehaving MPs, which ministers are still "considering."
  • Plans to create directly-elected mayors in 12 English cities, which were rejected by voters in a series of referendums.
  • A commitment to seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, despite the advice of a Commons committee, this plan has been dropped.
  • A pledge to maintain the target of ending child poverty, which is now subject to a consultation on changing the measurement.

On the big issues of the economy, there is no reference to Mr Osborne's expected failure to meet his target of paying off the deficit by the end of this parliament.

The audit said the Chancellor was "on course" to meet his mandate of eliminating the deficit within a rolling five-year period, though this was initially 2015, it is now not due to be met until 2018.

Institute for Government chairman Peter Riddell said the audit amounted to "a long list of activities" which left out the vital issue of outcomes.

Independent scrutiny of this progress report, by Parliament or the National Audit Office for example, would give this the credibility it needs.

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