UK ministers invited to clarify the reason behind the fourth postponement of the Covid wine cellar report.

Labour has accused the government of withholding data regarding the use of official alcohol stock between March 2020 and 2022. The UK government’s consumption of wine during the Covid pandemic has been the subject of a delayed report, which has been postponed four times over the past year. The Foreign Office, responsible for the government’s wine collection, has been urged to publish the data immediately to address suspicions about the amount used.
Originally scheduled for publication in early 2023, the stock list was subsequently rescheduled for July, and then again for the autumn. A Foreign Office minister, Andrew Mitchell, stated that the report would be published before the Christmas recess, but it did not materialize by the end of the parliamentary term. This delay means that the last official statement on the wine cellar’s usage, value, costs, and stock levels was made in July 2021, creating a two and a half-year gap.
The forthcoming report should cover the entire period of the pandemic and is expected to show a decline in consumption due to restrictions on indoor gatherings and international travel. The previous report indicated that the wine cellar contained 32,921 bottles of wine and spirits with a market value of £3.2 million in March 2020. It also revealed that 7,300 bottles were used between April 2018 and March 2020, including champagne, gin, and whisky.
The Labour party is concerned that the postponed report may be intentionally delayed until after a general election. The prolonged postponement of various publications by the government has raised suspicions. Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general, criticized the government’s tactic of delaying disclosure until the election period. She emphasized the importance of transparency and urged for the report’s immediate publication.
At this time, the FCDO has not commented on the delay, but it is understood that the report will eventually be published.

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