Putin Helps British Taxpayers

There are going to be a few changes...

No wonder they don't want him to retire. This morning President Putin has even found time to help us beleaguered British taxpayers. He's ordered the closure of no fewer than 15 offices of the totally useless quango the British Council.

BOM readers will be familiar with the Council (see here for summary). It employs over 7,500 people in 110 countries all around the world. It costs £0.5bn pa, of which £0.2bn is a straight subsidy from the taxpayer, with much of the rest comes from "selling" services to other bits of the public sector (see here for latest annual report).

Chaired by my Lord Kinnock, it employs his son- as Head of the St Petersburg branch- and his Lordship's longtime favourite "Axeman", Billy Bragg, has been on the Advisory Council. It costs each and every British family £20 pa, yet nobody can explain how we benefit. At all.

Indeed it's so bad, there is an excellent blog dedicated to its misdeeds- David Blackie's The Language Business.

Last year David blogged the Lords Foreign Affairs Committee which called for two urgent probes into the BC- one by the FCO and one by the National Audit Office- although nothing has happened. As David pointed out:

"The organisation enjoys public funding, charitable status at home, diplomatic status abroad, early retirement, index-linked civil service pensions, enthusiastically embraced contracts with government departments, and the very agreeable freedom to enter into any commercial arrangement it pleases without any public accountability, ombudsman, non-executive director or external moderation or control."

So hurrah for Putin! At last, someone's taken action. In March he finishes in Russia. Surely his English must be as good as Capello's, so maybe we could put him in charge of liquidating useless British quangos.

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