The business department has put out a list of 119 successful bidders for £950m of public money through the regional growth fund. (A new vehicle which now plays part of the role of the wound-up RDAs.) On average this is more than £8m each.

The only downside is that you can’t see how much money each company or council is getting or – necessarily – what for. In fact there are 10 successful bids where no details whatsoever have been disclosed: even the names of the winning companies. Read more

Geoff Lewtas of the PCS union warned this morning that the chaos around the new “LEPs” being set up to replace RDAs could mean “hundreds of millions in euros” of development money lost.

The union official said that there were real concerns about the shambolic way that these “local enterprise partnerships” are being created, covering only parts of the country. Until now the RDAs were responsible for handling huge amounts of development money from Brussels:

“It will take some time before they are recognised by the EU as acceptable bodies to handle this (development aid), there could be hundreds of millions of euros in development money being held backand possibly not made available,” he warned.

“That seems to me a pretty dire consequence and a serious risk that doesn’t seem to have been taken into account.”

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When Francis Maude said a few weeks ago that he was culling 192 quangos he couldn’t put a number on how much money the coalition would save. And no wonder. The cost of any government reorganisation can quickly mount in terms of redundancy payments, closing down offices and so on – before you get any net benefits.

Regional Development Agencies will require a further £1.4bn-plus of state funding over the next four years despite their abolition in the spending review, officials have just confirmed.

The nine regional quangos, which are to be replaced with a patchwork of “local enterprise partnerships” – loose networks of councils and companies – cannot be axed immediately and instead will be wound down gradually with heavy redundancy costs for staff. Read more