Mayor Johnson

Interim report falls a bit flat

The interim report of the Mayor’s Forensic Audit Panel, looking into both the LDA and GLA, was published today. It didn’t sound like there will be many new revelations. The most quotable quote from the short document was:

Further work is required to validate the position but it does appear that the London Development Agency has been historically an organisation where success was measured by money [paid] out rather than objectively observed results.

They could be talking about most of the state there.

The Sunday Times covered this story and used the headline “Boris uncovers Ken’s ‘wasted millions’” so you have to figure they were given a stronger briefing by Wheatcroft or someone else.

The most interesting bit is probably the last paragraph:

The GLA makes grants, as does the LDA, sometimes to the same projects. There are many other grant-giving bodies in London. We are looking at the scope for rationalisation.

They seem to be missing the point that the LDA is meant to be doing economic regeneration. Livingstone abused it and turned it into to his piggy bank. It got dipped into to fund any old social project he thought worthy. The LDA needs to refocus on core economic regeneration.

One reply on “Interim report falls a bit flat”

That first point is very telling, and it is time to act on it. The ‘spending is good, saving is bad’ culture has become endemic under New Labour with politicians of all hues proudly announcing ‘investments’ of millions in public services.

The voters don’t want to know how much (of their) money we are spending. They want to know what we are getting for it.

So here’s a challenge to all of us in power. Send back all those ‘we’ve spent £x million’ press releases and instead talk about the service being delivered. It requires clearer thinking and harder work but the leaner and more focused state that we create will be worth it. We also don’t have millions spare any more and tighter discipline is needed.


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