Complaints about £50,000 for Russell Hart to chair the Hartlepool Hospital Trust Board are sadly pointless. Mr Hart belongs to the select group of “Quangocrats” who control huge sections of public life but who are not answerable to the public in any way.
Recent research revealed “quangos” (quasi-autonomous non-government organisations) of unaccountable political appointees are estimated to control £123 billion a year of public spending. That is over 21% of all public spending. By comparison elected local authorities control only 15% of public spending. Hartlepool’s Mayor receives far more than Mr.Hart but at least Stuart Drummond was democratically elected to his post.
At national level the residents of the North East make up only 2% of Quango members. The North East is the worst represented region in the country! The North West and West Midlands each have 5% of the quango seats, Yorkshire and the Humber have 6%, East Midlands 7%, the South West 9% and East of England have 10%. The remaining 56% of the Quangocrats are from London and the south-east.
Four London Boroughs (Camden, Westminster, Islington, and Kensington & Chelsea) have 15% of the national total of quango board members. This small section of the capital has more influence than the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humberside combined.
The government insists people appointed to the boards of public bodies are appointed solely on merit. (Apart of course from rules to cover gender and ethnic diversity!) but it does appear a London Postcode (and possibly Labour Party Membership?) helps enormously.