Mike Rumbles MSP has condemned the decision of the Rural Economy Minister to remove criticism, of the Scottish Government’s mishandling of farm payments, from an independent report published today.
Members of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee were told by the Minister that the report, originally compiled by Fujitsu, could not be made public due to commercial sensitivity. Sections of the report, however, were quoted by members during a public meeting of the committee, including sections that heavily criticised the Scottish Government’s handling of the situation.
A ‘separate public document’, prepared by the Scottish Government, has been published today removing all commercially sensitive information from the report. Mr Rumbles, however, has highlighted that many features of the report that outlined the failures of the Scottish Government have also been removed, including the phrase ‘many quality assurance and governance practices have been knowingly sacrificed’ which he quoted in committee.
North East MSP Mike Rumbles said: “I am shocked that the Scottish Government thinks they can get away with this. Removing legitimate criticism from independent documents is Orwellian in the extreme.
“Only this week we’ve heard complaints from journalists that the Government is not fulling their freedom of information obligations, that there have been un-minuted meetings between Ministers and lobbyists, and now this.
“I think this Minister and the Scottish Government need to take a serious look at the type of government they want to be. If these actions continue their legacy will be one of closing down democratic debate, hiding information and misleading the public.
“I am calling on the Minister to publish, in full, all the relevant documents that detail the failures of the Futures Programme and farm payments over the past two years.”