Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Let The Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth Begin!

Less than a week after becoming international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell began fulfilling his pledge to ensure value for money on aid by cutting development education projects.
OK, not as good as cutting overseas aid altogether (which I’d have much preferred…) but better than nothing.
As part of "a drive to re-focus aid spending", Mitchell today announced an immediate funding freeze on five development "awareness projects", a move expected to save the department more than £500,000.
And these vital projects, set up by our late, utterly unlamented government?
The five cancelled projects are £146,000 for a Brazilian-style dance troupe in Hackney, London; £55,000 to run stalls at summer music festivals; £120,000 to train nursery school teachers about 'global issues'; £130,000 for a 'global gardens schools network' and £140,000 to train outdoor education tutors in Britain on development.
/facepalm

Well, that would have been £500,000 well spent if Labour had won, wouldn’t it..?

19 comments:

Macheath said...

Does anyone know whether these headline figures included the cost of police and CRB checks on all the participants who might, at some point, come into contact with children? And the inevitable health&safety inspections, diversity monitoring and who knows what besides?

John R said...

A very good day's work, let's hope he keeps this up as I'm sure there are plenty more of these pointless money pits to be eliminated.

A saving of £500k per day = £2.5m per week = £120m per year. It's not going to much reduce the deficit but, as the ads say, "every little helps"

subrosa said...

Imagine cutting the training of nursery school teachers - I mean, what's going on? Nursery school teachers are desperate to know about global issues. They need an expert (I know they're experts because they'll possibly get the best part of the £120,000), to help them.

Julia, I hope he starts cutting the billions going out of this country to dodgy projects in foreign lands. Stop the lot I say and start all over again.

dickiebo said...

It's a start! Just KEEP GOING!

NickM said...

How does spending money on dancers in Hackney qualify as international aid? I mean I know it doesn't have a tube station but really!

This is Catherine Tate's office chugger - "Think of the poor bairns in North East London without salsa classes!"

Clarissa said...

If Hackney counts as 'international' then the Islington set really are living in a different country to the rest of us.

Indyanhat said...

I have to admit I have had more sense out of talking international poverty issues with 3 yr olds than I have heard from most rabid lefty labour 'grown ups'.
Maybe that one shouldn't be cut, just a thought!!!

Typical conversation with an awareness raised 3 yr old;

Well what do you think we should be doing to stimulate the economies of third world countries to eliminate poverty and introduce a basic standard of living to all?

(giggle) me like riceicles...tha's my mummy...igota,igota wed twactor!!

Same question to Liebore suporter;

(giggle) S'all magee's fault...s'magees fault....S'MAGGEE'S FAULT!!!! wahh wahhh waaaa!!!tis s'MAGEE'S fault...

I know which conversationalist I would rather indulge in the gentle art of debate with!!!...don't you?

Foxy Brown said...

That Boris Johnson phobe Dave Hill, London Correspondent of the Guardian's Comment is Free site, is probably typing a piece on how very dreadfully horrid the Tories are.

DerekP said...

"How does spending money on dancers in Hackney qualify as international aid?"

Maybe if the cash goes to someone with a foreign passport?

As well as listing the amounts and projects(?)it would be interesting to know the names of the organisations/people that applied for these projects, and to know of any other taxpayer-funded projects in which they are are involved.

JuliaM said...

@MacHeath: Doubt it!

@John R: And more than the money, it's the message it sends!

@subrosa: Me too...

English Viking said...

If one reads the article closely, one will find that not a penny will be saved, it is to 're-directed' to foreign countries.

Even if it was a saving, £500,000 represents about an hour and a half's worth of interest on the national debt.

JuliaM said...

@dickiebo: That's going to be the acid teat, isn't it? Is this a start, or just a token gesture?

@NickM: Spot on!

@Clarissa: I think that goes without saying... ;)

JuliaM said...

@Indyanhat: Oh, yes, I do indeed!

@Foxy Brown: Part of the fun will be watching people try to justify these sorts of things as vital! :)

@DerekP: Oh, certainly. I very much doubt any of these were their ONLY fingers in the pie...

JuliaM said...

@English Viking: Well, though I'm not in favour of that, at least it isn't employing the useless parasites that infest these sort of projects...

Anonymous said...

There has been quite an uptick in the flushing away of vast sums of taxpayers money, in the past 18 months. To the extent that the Civil Service raised un unprecedented series of formal objections.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/18/civil-servants-labour-spending

JuliaM said...

@anon: Yes, amazing we never got to hear it from any whistleblowers, isn't it?

Macheath said...

@anon
Was it covered by the Official secrets Act?

JuliaM said...

Does the OSA still apply with the new whistleblower legislation? Or would it depend on whether the acts could be said to be illegal or not?

Surreptitious Evil said...

The Public Interest Disclosure Act only applies if your disclosure is "qualifing". OSA still applies and the amended Employment Act 2006 s43B(3) specifically excludes disclosures where you commit an offence by making it.

In the case of civil service advice - the Ministers have the statutory power. Unless they want to commit an offence by making it public (and even in the absence of OSA, the spending would need to fall in to the 6 qualifying cases - and I don't think these would), all they can do is complain up the internal chain and the top of the chain made the Ministers take personal responsibility. Just think of it this way - what if the Ministers were doing something we approved of? Would we want the civil servants stopping them?

You might not like the government we had, or the one we have but that's the price of a representative democracy.