We’ve been informed that Advantage West Midlands have treated themselves to yet another conference yesterday in a handy Worcester location. Liam Byrne was wheeled out to discuss exactly which new taxes to slap on businesses to fund transport now that road pricing has been rejected by our local councils.
Interestingly, Worcester Rugby Club is pretty badly served by public transport, so it’ll be cars (taxis) all the way – or perhaps a night in a hotel would suit delegates better…
An excellent letter on quango spending entitled “Expensive waste of money with no results” appeared in the Birmingham Post today. The author has experience of previous “Transport Summits” and writes:
“One year, I saw one exec absent from morning and afternoon sessions but definitely as large as life for the free food and drink at lunchtime”.
This is perhaps what we’ve come to expect from these expensive publicly funded shindigs. The author then continues:
“A gap in effectiveness and probity by our top transport men in the West Midlands. Ineffective in getting the three first Metro lines in place after nearly 30 years and where there are still ten full-time staff employed in Centro House achieving nothing”.
And that’s in spite of Centro spending over £9M on consultants last year…
At a Rotary event in Wolverhampton last night it became very clear that there is widespread animosity towards these local quangos, and especially the mother quango Advantage West Midlands. The general feeling amongst those who aren’t able to prize cash from their hands (cash that seems to flow freely for their own events and purposes) seems to be that AWM are too powerful – particularly with regards to their ability to dole cash out to our local councils.
Their unapologetic and actually quite brazen profligate spending – including a £118,000 one-day conference in November – is surely due to the fact that they remain completely unafraid of public scorn. If a council got this much bad press they’d be quaking at the thought of the next elections, but for as long as we’ve unable to deselect these executives, their snouts won’t leave the trough.