§ Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will now introduce a Freedom of Information Bill.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
No. We have made clear on several occasions why we do not believe that a statutory right of access to information would be appropriate. But it is the Government's policy to make available as much information as is possible while preserving the confidentiality essential to national security and to the effective working of Government. It is for my right hon. Friends in charge of Departments to implement this policy in their own areas of responsibility and to explain to the House and to the public the decisions they take. But my general impression is that good progress has been made in increasing the amount of information which is publicly available. In particular the evidence taken by departmental Select Committees provides a large range of information on the background to policies and problems over wide areas of Government activity.168W
calculations assume that the taxpayer has no reliefs other than the appropriate personal allowance and that national insurance contributions are at the not contracted-out rate. For illustration, earnings have been assumed to increase by 7 per cent. and retail prices by 5 per cent. between 1982–83 and 1983–84.