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Can you keep a secret?

03 June 2014 / Wendy Bradley
Issue: 4454 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , Admin , Budget/Finance Act

Why some Budget secrecy is desirable


  • New security markings are to be introduced by the government.
  • Budget ideas are subjected to many tests.
  • Cost to the exchequer and the taxpayer.
  • Unlikely to change the Budget process.

New security markings were brought in across government on 2 April as explained by Jon Snow and Francis Maude in a short video.

In effect all the lower tiers of security from “unclassified” and “protect” to “restricted” and “confidential” have been folded into one new category called “official”. Government information is now “official” “secret” or “top secret”.

When examined more closely though it seems there might not be much practical difference. Paragraph 21 of the Cabinet Office instructions gives permission for what are “slightly more sensitive than just official” categorisations (see Descriptor below).


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