Dan Peters 20 February 2018

Whitehall's local government finance cover-up is exposed

Whitehall attempted to cover up errors in the provisional finance settlement as it tried to sneak out corrections to the figures it was based on, The MJ can exclusively reveal.

But as soon as The MJ revealed details of the error, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office demanded assurances that the mistake would not be repeated.

Before Downing Street’s involvement, emails between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – obtained using the Freedom of Information Act – showed how Whitehall officials had discussed ‘not proactively’ publicising changes to the data behind the settlement.

The MHCLG also said it would only explain the changes to the data ‘if pressed’ despite admitting privately it was ‘integral to part of a calculation that affects how much income local authorities get’.

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