This week's guest quango is...
The Potato Council... A quango on which taxpayers money is NOT being wasted.
No, it's up to potato growers and seed merchants to fund it via a levy of around £4.54m annually, whether they want to or not. Including money from other sources, the Potato Council spends £6.3m per year.
The Potato Council came to my attention due to this story in the Guardian. All kudos to these quangoids for spinning the credit crunch quite this creatively to a national newspaper and boo hiss to the Guardian for printing such a blatant 'non-news' story.
But, apart from filling column inches, what does this worthy body do with a cool £4.54m of spud botherers money?
Well, according to the Development Plan for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 2008 - 2011, where is sits alongside other similarly pointful organisations like the Milk Development Council, it intends to (among other activities - some of which I've detailed below):
Work to alter the misconceptions on the nutritional profile of chipsNational Chip week is threatened by concern over nutritional profile of chips. Fight this
I can only say one thing in response to this... OBESITY CRISIS. Joined-up Government, don't you just love it...
Other highlights include:
- Engage in various knowledge transfer campaigns, e.g. on blight (paraphrase: leaflets)
- Regular dialogue in support of the potato industry with industry, stakeholders and the media (paraphase: mmmmm, meetings - the practical alternative to work!)
- Provide a range of generic GB tools for use by GB seed industry (paraphrase: 'tools' presumably means 'more leaflets' and not 'free shovels all round')
But I'm really loving:
- Lack of trust in [Potato Council] prevents industry involvement. [Promote] industry involvement from inception of projects
Says it all really, doesn't it...
I'll let the Times (2006) have the last word.