Busted! Public bodies at party conferences

October 13, 2011 10:32 AM

Conference season was just as frantic as ever this year, with the usual rotation of speeches, receptions and events in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. Now the dust has settled it’s time to share with you some interesting discoveries we made.

We caught a number of public bodies exhibiting and campaigning at all three of the major party conferences.  We’ve reported on this previously here and here and we estimated the cost of RDAs at party conferences back in 2008; the Conservatives have in the past pledged to end taxpayer-funded lobbying but our photographs below prove that it is very much still alive and well. Just this week The Daily Telegraph exposed how bureaucrats at the Olympic Delivery Authority spent £4515 on the three main political parties for conference tickets last year.

Every part of the public sector needs to do its bit to cut spending. It is fine for a wide variety of groups to set up a stall at a party political conference to have their say, but what’s not okay is when that stall is at taxpayers’ expense.

Conservative Party Conference

Welcome to Yorkshire describes itself as the official Destination Management Organisation for Yorkshire. In 2010 Yorkshire Forward gave them £9,246,000 of taxpayers’ money and Local Authorities topped that up with another £285,600. Welcome to Yorkshire is already known for its high profile advertising, such as its sponsorship of the Paul O’Grady Show.

The University of Northampton, like other higher education institutions is kept afloat in part with taxpayers’ cash. Nothing wrong with that, but what if it wasn’t being spent on research and education at the university but in a conference hall.


Two bored-looking employees put in an appearance on the costly looking Centro stand too. For those of you not from the West Midlands this is the body responsible for promoting and developing public transport across the region.


Labour

Digital UK was at the Labour party conference. They were set up supposedly to assist people by offering impartial advice about the digital switchover, however it’s unclear why that requires them to attend a party political conference.


Royal Mail were also present, despite the dire state of their finances they managed to scrape together enough of our money to pay for a stand.


And the more obscure pteg (the passenger transport executive group) also had a (rather empty looking) display. Centro (remember them from Tory party conference?) are a member of this body that represents six passenger transport bodies, all paid for by you and me.


Royal Mail Group and pteg also popped up at the Liberal Democrats party conference, along with several unions who have cash to spare for things like this thanks to the taxpayer-funding they receive.Conference season was just as frantic as ever this year, with the usual rotation of speeches, receptions and events in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. Now the dust has settled it’s time to share with you some interesting discoveries we made.

We caught a number of public bodies exhibiting and campaigning at all three of the major party conferences.  We’ve reported on this previously here and here and we estimated the cost of RDAs at party conferences back in 2008; the Conservatives have in the past pledged to end taxpayer-funded lobbying but our photographs below prove that it is very much still alive and well. Just this week The Daily Telegraph exposed how bureaucrats at the Olympic Delivery Authority spent £4515 on the three main political parties for conference tickets last year.

Every part of the public sector needs to do its bit to cut spending. It is fine for a wide variety of groups to set up a stall at a party political conference to have their say, but what’s not okay is when that stall is at taxpayers’ expense.

Conservative Party Conference

Welcome to Yorkshire describes itself as the official Destination Management Organisation for Yorkshire. In 2010 Yorkshire Forward gave them £9,246,000 of taxpayers’ money and Local Authorities topped that up with another £285,600. Welcome to Yorkshire is already known for its high profile advertising, such as its sponsorship of the Paul O’Grady Show.

The University of Northampton, like other higher education institutions is kept afloat in part with taxpayers’ cash. Nothing wrong with that, but what if it wasn’t being spent on research and education at the university but in a conference hall.


Two bored-looking employees put in an appearance on the costly looking Centro stand too. For those of you not from the West Midlands this is the body responsible for promoting and developing public transport across the region.


Labour

Digital UK was at the Labour party conference. They were set up supposedly to assist people by offering impartial advice about the digital switchover, however it’s unclear why that requires them to attend a party political conference.


Royal Mail were also present, despite the dire state of their finances they managed to scrape together enough of our money to pay for a stand.


And the more obscure pteg (the passenger transport executive group) also had a (rather empty looking) display. Centro (remember them from Tory party conference?) are a member of this body that represents six passenger transport bodies, all paid for by you and me.


Royal Mail Group and pteg also popped up at the Liberal Democrats party conference, along with several unions who have cash to spare for things like this thanks to the taxpayer-funding they receive.

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