A particularly cynical government tradition has developed in recent years. On the last day of the parliamentary term, just as MPs head back to their constituencies, the government deliberately releases a deluge of inconvenient reports and statements, in the hope they will be buried from political and media scrutiny.
Today ministers dumped no fewer than 36 written statements, many of which would have constituted big news stories in their own right, had they been released when Parliament was still active.
Here are just some of the inconvenient stories we've managed to fish out of the Christmas skip.
1. The bedroom tax isn't working
The DWP today slipped out a damning report into the so-called 'bedroom tax'. As we reported earlier, it found the policy is forcing those affected to cut back on food and other essential items, while forcing many into taking on unsustainable debts. Importantly it also found that the chief selling point of the bedroom tax, that it would free up social housing, hasn't been borne out in reality. Charities today slammed the government for slipping out the report on the last day of the parliamentary term.
2. Court fees to rise
The Ministry of Justice today sneaked out the news that they are to increase a whole range of court fees. Among the rises is a 10% hike in civil court fees as well as the introduction of a range of new charges in parts of the court system which were previously not charged.
More bad news buried today. Ministry of Justice to whack up court fees. pic.twitter.com/8ufFguDnoi— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) December 17, 2015
3. The cost of the Spadocracy
Also released today was the long-awaited list of government special advisers and their salaries. The document reveals that the prime minister alone has no fewer than 32 special advisers, many of whom are on pretty hefty salaries. The list, sneaked out this afternoon, reveals that the government's reliance on this army of special advisers costs taxpayers over £9 million a year. A 10% rise on last year.
Also slipped out today: a list of government special advisers and their salaries. Total cost £9 million. pic.twitter.com/lNnPBeYBYK— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) December 17, 2015
4. Ministerial cars
Also chucked out today was the bill for ministers' chauffeur-driven cars. The report reveals that last year the government spent almost £2 million on driving ministers around. The biggest spenders were the Treasury and the Cabinet Office, with only Defence and International Development not charging for the use of government cars.
5. Badger bloodbath
The government's badger cull is to be expanded after 1,500 of the furry creatures were despatched this autumn. The programme has so far proved hugely controversial for the government, so it's no great surprise that they chose to chuck news of the slaughter into the Christmas skip with the rest of today's stories.
6. School cuts
Also slipped out today was the news that school per-pupil funding is to be cut by up to 1.5% next year. The cut in the Dedicated Schools Grant will put extra pressure on already heavily squeezed school budgets at a time when they are facing huge pressures and rising pupil numbers. Yet more bad news for schools as pupils head off for Christmas.