UK Trade & Investment head Sir Andrew Cahn throwing our money out of the door

January 06, 2011 1:00 PM

The head of UK Trade & Investment, the Government’s trade promotion quango, has urged staff to dream up ways of spending more taxpayer’s money, according to the Daily Mail. In an email to the quango’s executive team, chief executive Sir Andrew Cahn reported that Foreign Office officials were worried that taxpayer’s money might not be wasted in time for the new financial year.
“The FCO is heading for an underspend and wants to get money out of the door. If we can spend money in this financial year on a one-off basis, then we can have at least £1million. Can you think of what we might do with such money.”

How about reducing the enormous budget deficit or using it to not hike VAT? Even in the best of economic times, this approach to financial cost control with public money would be outrageous. When businesses are facing closure and job losses due to tax rises such spendthrift profligacy truly is a disgrace. As TaxPayers’ Alliance director Matthew Sinclair says,
“It is absolutely shocking that while ordinary taxpayers and struggling businesses are working hard to look after their money, UK Trade and Investment are casting around for ways to spend it.  This just confirms that too often in the public sector spending is an end in itself, whether it is bureaucrats looking to grow their budgets or politicians making a shallow attempt to show they care about standards.  Now more than ever, with a huge crisis in the public finances and pressure on the budgets of taxpaying families, that culture needs to change.”

If it makes economic sense to do the specific business promotion things UKTI does, British businesses are more than capable of doing them by themselves and do not need wet-nursing from the taxpayer's bosom. Instead of searching for new ways to waste taxpayers’ money, Sir Andrew should have been drawing up plans to abolish his unnecessary quango.The head of UK Trade & Investment, the Government’s trade promotion quango, has urged staff to dream up ways of spending more taxpayer’s money, according to the Daily Mail. In an email to the quango’s executive team, chief executive Sir Andrew Cahn reported that Foreign Office officials were worried that taxpayer’s money might not be wasted in time for the new financial year.
“The FCO is heading for an underspend and wants to get money out of the door. If we can spend money in this financial year on a one-off basis, then we can have at least £1million. Can you think of what we might do with such money.”

How about reducing the enormous budget deficit or using it to not hike VAT? Even in the best of economic times, this approach to financial cost control with public money would be outrageous. When businesses are facing closure and job losses due to tax rises such spendthrift profligacy truly is a disgrace. As TaxPayers’ Alliance director Matthew Sinclair says,
“It is absolutely shocking that while ordinary taxpayers and struggling businesses are working hard to look after their money, UK Trade and Investment are casting around for ways to spend it.  This just confirms that too often in the public sector spending is an end in itself, whether it is bureaucrats looking to grow their budgets or politicians making a shallow attempt to show they care about standards.  Now more than ever, with a huge crisis in the public finances and pressure on the budgets of taxpaying families, that culture needs to change.”

If it makes economic sense to do the specific business promotion things UKTI does, British businesses are more than capable of doing them by themselves and do not need wet-nursing from the taxpayer's bosom. Instead of searching for new ways to waste taxpayers’ money, Sir Andrew should have been drawing up plans to abolish his unnecessary quango.

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