Wednesday 8 May 2013

The wages of failure

That's all sorted then. The Queen's Speech contained no mention of minimum pricing or plain packaging so it is likely that both of these ill-considered policies have been kicked into the long grass until after the next election. Well done to the government for seeing sense. Let's hope the puritanical, prohibitionist juggernaut is starting to turn in this country.

Let's also hope that the government takes a closer look at the Department of Health's countless astroturf groups who have squandered millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on these two campaigns. They will be crying into their mineral water today, as will a certain Australian sociologist (be sure to read Nannying Tyrants' investigation into Simple Simon, by the way).

Some of the DoH's sockpuppets may even miss out on a bonus because of the coalition's refusal to capitulate. How tragic that would be, but at least they know that the money will still keep rolling in for the time being...

The future of Fresh and Balance, the North-East's two public health campaign groups, has been secured for at least the next two years.

Until recently Fresh - which campaigns for a reduction in the use of tobacco products - and Balance - which campaigns for a reduction in the consumption of alcohol - had been funded by NHS primary care trusts in the region.

But when PCTs were abolished, both agencies had to appeal to local authorities to provide funding.

Colin Shevells, director of Balance, said: "The funding we have secured from the 12 North-East local authorities is the same as before but for the first time we have got a two year contract."

There's nothing easier than spending other people's money, is there? And we're not talking pennies here...

The agreement means that Fresh has an annual budget of £713,000 and Balance has a budget of £680,000 per annum.

Guess what they're going to be lobbying for...

The main priority for Fresh is to secure plain-packaging for tobacco products and Balance is pushing for a minimum price per unit of alcohol to be introduced in England.

You read that right. £1.4 million* of taxpayers' money has been awarded to two astroturf groups to campaign for policies that the government has just rejected. This is both absurd and outrageous. How about some joined up government? Is central government even aware of this?

* £2.8 million really, since the funding is secure for two years.


handymanphil said...

You are right Chris, it is a disgrace that two such manipulating organisations should be funded to such an extent in these austere times-just think what the NHS could do with £1.4m ! And as for that creature 'down under', could you distinguish quite clearly that he is absolutely nothiong to do with our very own British "Simple Simon" -->
Mind you, when you start lumping all the money together Chris, it is very easy to see how we have now wasted ££2bn on this futile venture!

handymanphil said...

.... that should read £32bn !