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Secret files: Move to 20-year rule for British Government papers

The release by the National Archives of government files from 1983 marks the start of the transition to releasing files after 20 years.

Previously files were withheld for 30 years, traditionally with an annual release of papers at the end of the year.

But under the transition programme, two years of records will be released each year for the next 10 years.

So this month's release of the 1983 files will be followed at the end of the year with the records from 1984.

The programme will continue to 2022 when the National Archives will release the records from 2001 and 2002.

After that it will revert to a single annual release.

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