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FoIA reveals excessive RDA bonuses despite their planned abolition

Regional development agencies (RDA) handed out £2.16m to their staff despite the fact the Coalition had already announced they would be scrapped, The Telegraph reports.

Figures released under the FoIA to Tory MP Jake Berry revealed 2,026 staff from nine RDAs received bonuses since May 2010, while their abolition was announced just the following month.

The Telegraph reports that the average bonus over the 18 months that have passed was £2,000 each, with the largest sum, £466,000, paid to 355 staff at the London Development Agency.

Mr Berry said: “No one should be rewarded for failure and these RDA bureaucrats should be forced to pay back these excessive bonuses.”

The Telegraph quotes a spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, who said: “RDAs pay their staff in accordance with the public sector pay remits issued annually by HM Treasury and in accordance with contractual terms agreed with staff.”

The agencies, which were created by the Labour Government through the Regional Development Agencies Act in 1998, have been criticised for failing to close regional divides and creating a layer of bureaucracy that stifled enterprise.

Cuts endanger Scotland’s environmental health

The Herald warns that Scotland’s ability to cope with large-scale outbreaks of deadly diseases will be compromised due to cuts to council budgets. Figures obtained by the Royal Environmental Institute of Scotland (REHIS) under the FoIA show that the number of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) employed by Scottish local authorities fell from 556 in March 2009 to 506 in September last year.

Families get monthly £6,000 housing benefit

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that over 100 families are receiving housing benefits of up to £6,000 a month to live in luxury homes, the Daily Mail reports.

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