Panic-buying could have been averted but Govt information office was victim of cuts

by - 30th March 2012, 15.22 GMT

Panic-buying of fuel and mixed messages over the safe storage of petrol have exposed the irrational decision to close the government agency that specialised in public information, the PCS says.

As the Central Office of Information closes its doors today on 66 years of helping to produce high-quality marketing communication and marketing campaigns, the minister responsible for the decision to shut it down, Francis Maude, is facing criticism for suggesting that people should store petrol in their garages.

Mixed messages from government ministers, and their politically-motivated attempts to blame the Unite union for the tanker driver dispute, have led to panic-buying at petrol stations, the union says.

This could easily have been avoided if the government had planned properly and professionally how to communicate the serious issues at stake.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “While ministers have only succeeded in sowing confusion, this shows the decision to close the CoI was clearly a mistake.

“The almost relentless drive to close down or privatise more and more work improves nothing, and just leads to the fragmentation and deterioration of vital services on which we all rely.”