Government facing accusations of spin and whitewash after publishing 'audit' of its time in power

Report lists dozens of targets that have not been achieved or have been dropped

The Coalition is facing accusations of spin and whitewash after releasing a detailed “audit” of its record which glossed over some of the most contentious episodes that have confronted it since coming to office.

The Government said it proved it had achieved the “vast majority” of its initial objectives. By its own admission, however, nearly 90 of the 399 pledges that it wanted to be judged against have either been dropped or are still to be completed.

Critics also seized on the omissions in the 119-page document, which was belatedly released as an annexe to the Coalition’s mid-term review.

It failed to mention George Osborne’s abandoned promise to cut debt as a share of gross domestic product within five years, the introduction of £9,000 a year university tuition fees or the rejection of plans for elected mayors in large cities.

It also claimed that plans to require phone and internet companies to store more information about users’ online contacts were designed to “provide clarity over what types of personal data are required”.

The audit’s existence only emerged when one of David Cameron’s aides was spotted carrying a memo which suggested the audit publication could be delayed to avoid overshadowing publicity around the review, which took place three days ago amid great fanfare.

At the time the Prime Minister described the Coalition’s performance over its first two and a half years as a “Ronseal deal”, proving two political parties could come together in the national interest.

He returned to the metaphor in angry exchanges with Ed Miliband yesterday ahead of the audit’s publication, promising the document would be full, frank and “completely unvarnished”.

The audit does not rate Coalition promises by whether they have been achieved or missed so far. But an analysis by the Independent concluded that 19 have been abandoned and a further 67 have not been completed.

Those that have been scrapped or postponed include staging a free vote on repealing the hunting ban, the planned cull of badgers, introducing elections to the House of Lords and the establishment of a dedicated border police force.

The audit acknowledged that moves to hold all-postal primaries to select candidates in 200 parliamentary seats were being reconsidered, while a plan to replace Air Passenger Duty with a per-flight levy had been shelved amid concerns over its “legality and feasibility”.

Promises still in the pipeline include banking reform, banning the sale of below-cost alcohol and the introduction of more flexible working patterns.

The audit sidestepped the Coalition’s original promise not to introduce a top-down reorganisation of the National Health Service, claiming that last year’s sweeping health reforms would help deliver better health, better care and better value for money”.

Michael Dugher, Labour’s vice-chair, said: “David Cameron has gone from Ronseal to whitewash in just two days. It turns out that the document David Cameron tried and failed to cover up is now itself a cover-up.”

Mr Cameron’s official spokesman said the document proved the Government had achieved or was making progress on the “vast majority” of its commitments.

Asked about the absence of figures on the economy’s performance, he said those figures were freely available and it was not the intention of the new document to repeat them.

“The aim of the document is to go through one by one each of the commitments made by the Government. What we have done is set out, against every single one of the commitments, progress to date.”

The spokesman said the audit had not been ready for publication alongside the mid-term review because the process of “copper-bottoming” its accuracy had not been completed.

The audit’s existence emerged when the photographer Steve Back took pictures of Downing Street aide Patrick Rock holding a memo warning that publishing it alongside the mid-term review could highlight “problematic areas” and lead to “unfavourable copy” identifying “broken pledges”.

Achieved

* Raise the income tax threshold. It went up to £8,105 in 2012/13 and will increase to £9,440 in 2013/14.

* Introduce a system of Free Schools. Eighty have now opened, with 102 more due to follow in September.

* Bring in civil liberties measures, including scrapping Labour’s identity card plans.

Broken

* Promise to “support an increase in the EU emission reduction target to 30 per cent by 2020”. Instead has backed a directive cutting energy consumption by 20 per cent.

* House of Lords reform. Ministers “took the decision not to proceed” after rebellion against the move by Tory MPs.

* Vote on repealing fox-hunting ban on ice.

Not mentioned

* Double dip recession and abandonment of moves to cut debt as share of GDP by 2015.

* The turmoil over introducing £9,000 a year university tuition fees.

* Nine cities out of 10 rejected the idea of elected mayors in referenda last year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'