A CAMBRIDGESHIRE based quango which finally disappears on March 30 has ‘celebrated’ its termination by doling out more than a quarter of a million pounds in bonuses to its staff.

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East of England Development Agency – which for Fenland helped bring together the £47 million redevelopment of the Nene waterfront at Wisbech – has paid out £264,892 in bonuses to 203 individuals since last May.

The bonuses came to light following a Freedom of Information request but a spokesman for the Histon based agency, which has been limping on with a skeleton staff, was unable to explain who got what from the handout.

She promised to see if a list could be released before EEDA is closed.

Tory MP Brandon Lewis said it was “shocking that the taxpayer is forced to foot the bill for unnecessary bonuses at this scrapped quango.

“The sight of failed bureaucrats lining their pockets with public money epitomises Labour’s something- for- nothing culture.”

He said people would see these “ridiculous bonuses, paid in the dying days of this unnecessary agency, as the ultimate reward for failure. I call on the former bureaucrats of EEDA to hand them back.”

None of the officials involved with EEDA would comment, including its former chief executive Deborah Cadman, now chief executive of Suffolk County Council.

However Grant Shapps, the local government minister, said: “Bumper payouts while the rest of the public sector is on a pay freeze show just how out of touch this regional development agency has become and justifies its abolition.”

Regional development agencies were set up in nine UK regions but they have been abolished by the Coalition Government and replaced with local enterprise partnerships and told to use existing resources to nurture growth.

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