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Greatest Living Briton loses £30m

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The 'Institute of Web Science' is another casualty of the UK's spending cuts.

The £30m institute was announced only two months ago in Labour's drunken pre-election cash splurge.

The Greatest Living Briton, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, was appointed to lead it, with backing from Southampton University - the Harlem Globetrotters of getting grants for webtastic wankery of dubious intellectual merit and zero commercial potential.

Alas, along with education IT quango Becta the IWS was axed yesterday in the Treasury's first round of cuts. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that web science was now a "low priority", a reasonable statement since the 'semantic web' has very little to do with business, innovation or skills. The Department pointed out money was still being thrown at it via Research Councils.

So what odds do you give that the British Library's demented exercise to record and archive every tweet and ROFL ever uttered on a web forum, will be next?

One can but hope.

The UK's public sector spending has doubled since 2001 to £704bn, leaving the nation £156bn short. It was almost entirely spent on white collar boondoggles; capital items such as hospitals were PFI, and off balance sheet. And try and find a nurse or a postie who is twice as well off. ®

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