Eric Pickles, the Fat Controller of England's local government, is probably only Number Two on my list of overpromoted idiots (behind Michael Gove, obviously). As a shining example of why he's probably not going to trouble us for very long is this example of not doing your homework. No wonder Vince Cable looks like he needs to be kept away from sharp objects these days:
Mr Pickles’ haste to rid England of its RDAs has now come back to bite him, leaving his department with a whopping great bill to pick up the rising cost of abolishing the agencies. As LGC reveals, that bill - largely comprising the RDA networks liabilities, which must sit on the government’s books - has reached £1.5bn and could yet rise higher, as auditors go through the agencies accounts and the full cost of closing the quangos is taken into account. Indeed, it could yet rise to £2.5bn, LGC has been told.
I'm not entirely sure a ministerial skillset that includes not being able to foresee that radical ideological reorganisations cost money is a strong survival strategy, but I confidentally anticipate our Eric will pass the bill on, as he's uniquely able to do, to the local communities and councils he sits in judgement over. That, after all, is his job. What's more likely to sink him is if the vaunted Local Enterprise Partnerships have to struggle to get off the ground with practically no funding. Like Free Schools, the ideological reshapers of the state need to have something tangible to show for all this faffing about.