According to the DTI, 'the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has injected over £112 million of added value into UK manufacturing since its launch in April 2002.'
It passed me by at the time, but it seems MAS 'was set up to provide practical advice through 10 centres throughout England and Wales to help manufacturing companies improve their productivity and competitiveness.'
So far, it's cost us £30 million. Real folding money.
And what of that £112 million value added? Was that the real folding stuff?
Hmm....let's see...Apparently it was achieved through zillions of 'responses', 'initial diagnostic health checks', 'events', and 'in depth consultations'.
So how do they know it's £112 million?
'The benefits...are assessed using 7 productivity measures relating to quality, cost and delivery. The impact of these improvements...is then calculated. The figures for all those firms where projects have been completed...are then added together.'
Yes...that's exactly what I feared.
Coincidentally, there's a John De Lorean memorial posting today on the ASI blog. It reckons these days politicians have learned not to back particular businesses.
Maybe. But not so deep down they still think they know how to run business better than the private sector.
And they're quite happy to put our money where their arrogance is.