Friday, May 04, 2007

Clueless in Washington
The rising cost of Kents American Dream

Following up on my recent reference to Kent council's involvement in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, I have recently received a fact file, which reveals, some of the further cost in Kents continuing relationship with the Commonwealth of Virginia, as you will recall earlier in the year it was announced that Kent council had lost £300,000 or more on the Manston to Norfolk Virginia flights fiasco.

A few days ago Kent council put out a press item to the effect that there would be a 40 strong group of people taking part in the Folklife Festival in Washington, not surprisingly they made little reference to the fact that this would be costing in the region of £225,000 which even by my appalling maths works out at around an astonishing £5,625 per participant, now I doubt any the bright sparks at Kent have ever heard of Expedia, Travelocity or have the remotest clue what online booking might be.

Having checked out the cost of a reasonably good Hotel in central Washington (Capitol Hill), a decent flight with Virgin Airways, the most expensive I could see was £2,950. Even if you include the cost of taxis to and from the airport, this still leaves you with approximately £2,500 which would work out at around £160 a day for meals and expenses, having never been to Washington, I might be wrong, but elsewhere in America, you can eat very well for around £30-40 a day.

The more I study Kent County Council, the more inept and profligate they seem by the day. But in addition there is also an additional £100,000 that has been made available to maximise Kents impact, to be spent in promotional activities.

It will be interesting if, at some time in the future Kent council will be able to justify this by producing evidence of a mass invasion by camera wielding Yanks, I will believe it when I see it.

The cost of Kents American adventure, so far this year looks to be around £650,000, what a waste, just think of the services that could be provided with that sort of money, that's more than the cost of running Kent TV channel for a year, or the price of two chief executives!

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