The Met Office warned ministers to expect an ‘exceptionally cold winter’ but then kept the prediction secret from the public.Inspite of the Met's contrary claims (2), I can't help but see this as a consequence of the climate change denier hysteria - they went to town on the infamous (but rather insubstantial) 'barbeque summer' forecast and the Met decided as a consequence not to do seasonal forecasts any more.
The forecaster decided not to reveal the information because it was embarrassed after wrongly predicting a ‘barbecue summer’ in 2009, BBC analyst Roger Harrabin said.
Instead of a seasonal forecast, it offered only monthly snapshots. (1)
So while they might have had the information, they weren't willing to release it, because they were nervous about being wrong again.
Recent rumblings from the BBC about whether to dump the Met Office didn't help, probably.
1 - "Met Office knew big freeze was coming but hushed it up," by Rachel Quigley. Published in The Daily Mail, 4th of January, 2010. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343863/Met-Office-knew-Decembers-big-freeze-coming-hushed-up.html)2 - ibid.