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COINing it in over previous Whitehall incumbents

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The government has broken the seal on its UK public expenditure data by releasing the entire contents of the Treasury’s Combined Online Information System (COINS) that details spending undertaken by the previous administration for the past two years.

The information has been published on data.gov.uk and contains “detailed” government accounting books for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 periods.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who ironically replaced David Laws following an expenses scandal that unravelled over the weekend, said the ConDem coalition would continue to release such data.

“For too long the previous government acted as if the public had no right to know where their hard earned taxes were spent. Today we have lifted that veil of secrecy by releasing detailed spending figures dating back to 2008," said Alexander.

“We will not stop here - we plan to release more data in the coming months that will be easier for the general public to understand.”

The LibDem minister didn’t reveal what other data the government planned to make public, however.

The Tories had stated in their manifesto that they would, if elected, open up the COINS database to the public. Prime Minister David Cameron has described the data release as forming part of his government’s “Transparency initiative".

The database provides detailed information for taxpayers wanting to know what the previous government spent their money on, and presumably will continue to provide the accounting books of the coalition on a yearly basis.

The data is published here, and the government warned that some files decompress to over 4GB. ®

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