Magazine article Public Finance

Major Report on Health Service Finances Could Be Delayed until after Election

Magazine article Public Finance

Major Report on Health Service Finances Could Be Delayed until after Election

Article excerpt

A major report into the financial health of the NUS by two senior government watchdogs might be held back until after the general election, it emerged this week.

As Labour and the Conservatives increasingly made health their election battleground, the report from the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission looked set to be delayed for the fourth time.

The eagerly awaited study, the first time the NAO's annual analysis of NHS accounts and the commission's work into financial management have been merged, was due to be published in December last year. The commission revised this to February, then later March. This week, sources indicated that it wouldn't surface until the end of May, after an expected general election.

The NAO said there was 'no set date' for the report and insisted that it had not been held back, as 'there is no date yet for the election. However, the spokesman could not confirm that it would be published before the watchdog goes into election purdah, normally a month before an election, stating that it was still in clearance' and had not yet been printed.

The commission said the delay was simply a case of not being able to set a date'.

However, the findings of the study could be potentially damaging in the run-up to the general election, although there is no evidence that either watchdog has been under pressure from ministers. …

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