Secret government files to be opened to public

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AROUND 4,000 government files which were supposed to be kept secret for 30 years were due to be opened for public scrutiny today.

The Scottish Government has decided to abandon the traditional 30-year rule for official documents and release files after 15 years.

The first tranche of documents, covering the period 1979-83, were being released today – International Right to Know Day.

Two further batches are expected to be made available early next year, opening up files right up to 1994.

Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford was visiting the National Archives of Scotland at West Register House in Charlotte Square today to open a new exhibition.

Entitled An Open Secret, it looks at the history of government attitudes to record and information closures from the 15th century to the present day.

Mr Crawford said: "Principles of openness and transparency are essential parts of open democratic government.

"The opening of these files has the potential to give us all a greater insight into the information gathering and decision making process within government."

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