19 May, 2011 - 10:14 By Kate Sweeney

Truth behind the crop circles

Business Weekly can reveal the truth behind the mysterious outbreak of apparent crop circles on land between Cambridge and Peterborough in the last week.

It is not alien activity. The circles have been created by repeat laps of honour undertaken by members of the economically named Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (bid for that logo design contract now) after securing £48k of government funding.


Flying in the face of the Coalition Government’s austerity strategy, this hand-out is to research what has been described as “economically essential information.” This information, of course, is already in the marketplace and a few minutes Google search away free of charge.

For those too busy running companies to have seen the details of this glorious funding success, the princely sum will be used to support the following four key areas of crucial work for the local LEP:-

1. Collecting and aligning key economic data that is currently held by the different local authorities within our area. (Er, that’s a 30-second chain email guys or a few 2nd class stamps).

2. Collecting and assessing information about local economic clusters (five minutes max on Google; no charge. Or, if you hurry, you might just catch EEDA before they go).

3. Identifying existing best practice and gaps in provision (already done and paid for by EEDA at the cost of £80,000 to the taxpayer via a recently published consultants ‘we tell you what you already know’ report).

4. Determining key skills' priorities required to facilitate growth (Above report refers. If you feel you really MUST try to justify the hand-out, I’ll email the addresses of the few executives locally who employ big enough numbers for this to be a problem).

At this point we would urge startup companies and more mature businesses seeking funding and support from central government or their LEP to do their utmost not to break down at the sheer emotion the receipt of this bounty may evoke.

Nor – opulent as 48k may appear at first glance – does this bout of Whitehall largesse signal an end to the belt tightening that we as a nation must endure until our eyes pop out.

Yes, I know we spent millions of POUNDS on warheads blitzing Libya while millions of PEOPLE were struggling on the breadline or to hold onto their homes – but that was a one off.

The Royal Wedding? Billions of pounds lost in productivity? Ok it was a one-off twice. And we got a few bob back on that one from proles who didn’t recognise the carnival occasion as the diversion tactic intended.

There are whispers that LEPS might get a share of another government fund but slightly less this time. A cruel insider described it as peanuts.

Enough to trigger an economic upsurge? Sadly no. But the two sums lumped together might just be enough to commission another consultants’ report recommending that we hurry up implementing the recommendations of the last one.


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