What is the Chancellor up to in China at the moment?
This morning George Osborne announced £3 million in funding for a scheme to “provide training for over 5,000 new football coaches, significantly increasing Chinese awareness of the thriving football sector in the UK”. That’s right, this “revolutionary grassroots football programme” will receive £3 million in funding from us, the British taxpayer.
What is this revolutionary programme? It’s the Premier Skills Initiative, already funded by the British Council in partnership with the Premier League and now getting this chunk of our money to promote a British institution that is already known across the world.
Dia Chakravarty, our Political Director, said:
"This will amaze taxpayers at home who are constantly being told that the government is doing everything it can to control the spiralling debt. Politicians like to tell us that we no longer give aid to countries like China but then they bankroll ludicrous schemes like this. Hard-pressed families will not be happy with this own goal by the government - they go out every morning and work hard for this money and it shouldn't be squandered like this"
Quite so. At a time when savings are having to be found across central and local government, it is absolutely astounding that the Chancellor has managed to somehow find cash to fund a scheme to train Chinese football coaches. And on the very day that we learn that staff shortages are forcing hospitals into special measures at home.