£706,000 was spent by the South West RDA over two years on ‘communications’, the House of Lords heard yesterday (Wednesday).

Former North Cornwall MP, Lord Tyler, asked why SWRDA needed to spend so much on spin, when the North West region is able to get by on £20,000 over thee same period.

Speaking in the House of Lords, he said, “What specific guidance do the Government give to regional development agencies? Is it not clear that they are seeking to justify their existence because they think they might be scrapped? What guidance will he give to the new chairman of the south-west RDA to deal with this ridiculous situation?”

In response the Minister had no explanation for the discrepancy but sought to assure Lord Tyler that the ‘difficult situation the south-west region’s economy is in’ justified this expenditure.

Commenting after the exchanges, Lord Tyler said:

“The Minister clearly missed the point. This huge expenditure on public relations does nothing to help the economy of our area.

“The RDA has become a spendthrift white elephant. With the new unitary authority in Cornwall – and a possible additional unitary in Devon – all the RDA functions could now be transferred to elected representatives.

“Meanwhile, we should not be fooled into thinking that all this money spent on communications actually helps the people of the region.”


Notes to Editors: The full exchange is available at – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/90225-0001.htm#09022571000271

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