Feeds

London 'Tech City' quango burns through £1m on admin

The Silicon roundabout - it's a nonstop social whirl!

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The taxpayer-funded quango given the job of rebranding and promoting the nontrepreneurs of Shoreditch has blown through £1m on admin costs alone in a year.

'Tech City' is the brainchild of No.10 special advisor Rohan Silva. It's also the name of the eponymous unit within UKTI, a taxpayer-funded quango, that's been set up to promote 'Silicon Roundabout' web companies. UKTI has refused requests to reveal the costs of the vanity venture, and the salaries of those involved.

Now, thanks to a FOIA request from Milo Yiannopolous we know some budget details.

The Tech City Initiative has so far cost £1.79m, we learn, with "business specialists" bleeding the taxpayer for the majority of it: £1.171m including expenses.

Marketing has cost £150,000 and "events and other promotional activities" £250,000. Since the entire purpose of being a nontrepreneur is to attend meetups and parties, that's an important part of the budget. The civil servants add the rest of the cost.

The sum excludes money spent on Shoreditch's finest overseas, and other money poured into the Black Hole of Old Street by other government departments and quangos, such as the Technology Strategy Board.

And some FOIA requests were refused flat out: PA Consulting and Grant Thornton declined to reveal salaries of their consultants and BIS refused to disclose the salary of Eric Van der Kleij, the "CEO" of Tech City.

It's your money - but they won't tell you how much is being spent.

One of these men takes public money and doesn't do any work. The other is Prince Andrew.

Tech City has already come under fire for spending almost £50,000 on a basic Wordpress blog and getting things seriously wrong on its map of the area. Also for claiming that 400 new tech firms have launched in the area - but using a definition of "tech firm" that includes clothes shops, law firms, dance studios and marketing agencies.

Tech City said these still technology companies, because they were "part of the digital movement".

Cutting red-tape and strengthening IP are proven ways of encouraging private investment into startups. But not in the hyperreal, fantasy world that policy advisors inhabit.

Party on, everyone. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.