Reporting some of the facts

Don't blame the elephant

and moneyand money

The Daily Mail tells us that 'shock, horror' that Regional Development Agencies are very expensive. It reports:

The TaxPayers' Alliance called for the nine RDAs to be abolished and their funding to be used to encourage new businesses and jobs through a 4p cut in the small business rate of corporation tax.

RDAs were set up by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in 1999 as part of his drive to create regional assemblies in England.

While Mr Prescott's hopes of elected regional governments foundered because of public hostility, the nine agencies have remained.

'They have failed in their core mission to narrow the gap between the economic performances of England's regions,' the report's author Ben Farrugia said.

'RDAs have become a symbol of wasteful bureaucratic excess.'

The agencies spent £2.3billion of taxpayers' money last year with the aim of improving regional wealth. In total they have spent £15.3billion since 1999 - or £600 for every household and family in the country.

However, the report fails to mention that important item - the EU. Without Regional Development Agencies how are we to administer the funding that we receive from the EU - taken from the money we give to the EU - to spend as we are told?

We have the Cohesion Fund, Regional development Fund, European Social Fund and Solidarity Fund. Then there are carriages on the gravy train such as the - European Grouping of Territorial Co-operation- these are amalgamations of regions which require more bureaucrats to plan policies and framework directives.There are more acronyms such as : JASPERS - Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions and so it goes. It is impossible to read without the brain beginning to bleed so look at the appropriate EU website telling you how even more of your money is spent.

The Taxpayers' Alliance report makes one fleeting allusion to the EU. Perhaps this is deliberate? Perhaps they feel that 'banging on about Europe' simply alienates people and that the criticism should merely be national. Who knows?