Good day to bury bad news?
The Budget has a tendency to overshadow other news items.
Here are three stories from yesterday you might have missed:
1. The government has been accused of “intimidating civil servants into silence”
As the coalition government nears its end, the toll on the relationship between Westminster and Whitehall is showing.
New rules published just before the Budget mean that civil servants must now obtain the permission of a minister before they are allowed to speak to the press.
According to the FT, Cabinet insiders strongly denied it had been an attempt to bury news as the media focussed on the Budget.
But Dave Penman, chairman of First Division Association, the body which represents senior civil servants told the paper the “blanket ban”, on media contact with just fifty days until the election was “an unnecessary, unworkable and unjustified restriction on the work of the civil service”.
2. UKIP unveiled some tasty new posters
Did we say tasty? We mean testy. As the cameras zoned in on Westminster yesterday, UKIP tweeted the first pictures of their new poster campaign which takes the government’s borrowing record to task.
Whilst it took Labour 13 years to double the debt this Government has done it in 5 http://t.co/LSrKMOTgy4 pic.twitter.com/xBJUQZ1T3R
— UKIP (@UKIP) March 18, 2015
The party deployed a billboard van to do laps of Westminster as the Budget stuff was going on.
The accompanying tweet the party sent out practically supports Labour’s borrowing record over the Tories. Hasn’t anyone advise Farage and Co. to be careful what they wish for?
3. Network rail in the spotlight
Elsewhere, Network rail bosses were in the hotseat, as the government scrutinises the problems which caused huge delays at Paddington and Kings Cross over the Christmas period, and the continuing problems at London Bridge.
According to the Evening Standard, Network Rail’s board minutes from January show that the Shareholder Executive, a powerful body which oversees the Government’s interests in businesses backed by the state, was undertaking a “high-level board effectiveness review”.
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