Gordon is now on YouTube and Number 10 is busy Twittering away. It seems, though, that they are so pre-occupied with their new toys and the digital environment that they have forgotten to check what is going on in the real world. In the House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 12 May 2008 pt 0002, Norman Baker asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to revise her projections for the future price of oil in (a) 2010, (b) 2015 and (c) 2020. Jim Fitzpatrick replied that the Department for Transport uses oil price projections from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in its transport modelling. The 2nd May 2008 revised BERR oil price assumptions are (a) $65; (b) $68; and (c) $70 for the years requested.
Unbelievable! I dread to think what sort of policies will emerge as a result. As well as a third Heathrow runway, they’ll probably be suggesting a fourth or even a fifth one.
With oil having recently reached $128/barrel, and Goldman Sachs predicting that prices could reach $150 to $200 a barrel over the next 6 months to two years, I am beginning to suspect that our government is a) living in cloud cuckoo land b) in peak oil denial or c) knows something that we don’t.
The UK Government is closing 95 per cent of its web sites in what it claims is a drive to make important information more readily accessible for internet users. The cuts will save £9 million and are part of what they call a “Transformational Government Strategy”. The official press release, which is short on detail, can be found at
There have been several postings on the LIS-Profession discussion list and Stella Dextre Clarke has forwarded further information from Linda Humphries of the Delivery and Transformation Group to the list:
“The Times’ figures are based on an extrapolation of the ratio of how many sites have agreed to close and those that are definitely to be retained (e.g. departments’ corporate websites) – 26 to date. There are still 374 sites to be reviewed. Of the 951 sites reviewed by their departments, 90 have already closed and 461 are planned to close. The Times’ figures are based on an extrapolation of the ratio of how many sites have agreed to close and those that are definitely to be retained (e.g. departments’ corporate websites) – 26 to date. There are still 374 sites to be reviewed. The information currently held on sites that are closing will be migrated to Directgov, Business Link or the departments’ corporate sites as appropriate. This will result in a reduction of the number of locations in which information for citizens and businesses is held, rather than reducing the amount of information available.”
There is now a list of sites to be closed available as a PDF at http://www.cio.gov.uk/documents/annual_report2006/website_list.pdf
Looking through the list I noted several web sites for various marketing boards that I thought had long gone. I also see that www.tradeinfo.com is for the chop. The URL rang a ver loud clanging bell in my head and I found it on my own list of statistics sources. My comments on the interactive data tables, for me the most useful section of the site, currently are “I strongly recommend that you download and view the PowerPoint demonstration first”. Ah yes, it is all coming back to me now. I had another look at it today and it still takes me ages to work out how to track down data. Whether the information will be any easier to access via other UK government sites, or if it will just disappear into a Whitehall black hole, remains to be seen.
HM Revenue & Customs: Home Page
This is the web site of the new UK government department responsible for, amongst other things, VAT and Income Tax and formed by the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. Having spent so many hours, days and weeks trying to find my way round the old Customs & Excise site I was horrified at the prospect of having to start all over again. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a clear, easy to read home page and was able to navigate quite easily through the site to most of the information that I needed. The search option got me quickly to documents and guides that I could not easily locate via the menus. Overall, I am impressed.
The Government Says
An interesting site that pulls together news releases from various UK government departments. Produced and maintained by Democracy.org.uk – “a loose collective of like-minded individuals who believe that there is little wrong with UK society that a healthy mixture of transparency and public engagement won’t fix.”
RSS feed available.