James Forsyth James Forsyth

The great irony of the government’s transparency push

David Cameron’s announcement that the government will publish a register of beneficial ownership should make it harder for companies to evade tax. This register of who owns what will make it harder for people to hide their earnings via complex ownership structures. This register of beneficial ownership is all part of the government’s transparency push timed to coincide with the Open Government Partnership.

But what will have more of an effect on British voters’ lives than the register of beneficial ownership are the other measures that Francis Maude announced today. Allowing parents to see their child’s record in the national pupil database will give people a far more rounded view of how their kids are doing compared to others.

The pity is that all this work on transparency is dwarfed by the chilling effect of the Royal Charter on Press Regulation. There’s an irony that there was a reception for the 61 members of the Open Government Partnership at the same time that the Privy Council was sealing this deeply illiberal document.

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