Now here’s an interesting question for you, who spends £30,000 wining and dining at four star restaurants in the South of France, including £10,928 for a drinks reception and dinner, £8,625 for a cocktail party, £2,469 for three business breakfasts, £4,406 for a welcome barbecue and £3,868 for a launch party?
Elton John? No, guess again. They also spent:
- £298,394 organising 19 conferences and events (£140,673 of that total going on their own self-congratulatory conference).
- £759,000 maintaining offices in Japan, France, Germany, Brussels, Sweden and America.
- £50,859 on airfares.
Trying to recall the names of particularly extravagant tycoons? Here’s a clue – you helped foot the bill.
That’s right, it wasn't some Arab Sheikh, it was the overpaid bigwigs at Advantage West Midlands – our local Regional Development quango! Luckily whilst in Cannes they stopped short of sending to Italy for a pizza…
These figures were published in today’s Birmingham Post following a Freedom of Information request by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, asking for the expenditure of all RDAs for the financial year 2006/7. Baker says: “No elected politician would get away with this and there is no reason why obscure, unelected, unaccountable officials should either”.
These figures are just expenses, but the fact that they run into the hundreds of thousands really is indicative of the reckless attitude of these undemocratic bodies towards our money. The fact that AWM was one of the better RDAs is really quite worrying.