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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

The Wine Standards Board has been called one of the nine most useless quangos' in a report on Efficiency in Government - The Essential Guide to British Quangos 2005' by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). Author Dan Lewis, who is director of the CPS' Efficiency in Government unit, claims that the UK has 529 quangos (non-departmental public bodies) financed with billions of pounds of taxpayers money. According to the CPS, however, a number of the quangos are either useless' or duplicating the roles of other quangos. In listing the WSB as one of the most useless quangos, Lewis summed up the board's work in three lines: With only a small domestic industry to defend, the WSB's defined role is to maintain the UK Vineyards' Register, record the annual production and harvest returns and to enforce EU wine regulations'. The WSB's chief executive, Dr Alan Curran, was bemused by the description. He told Harpers: The research the conclusion is based on is very flimsy. We would have been delighted if the CPS had come here to see what we do. We were set up as a requirement for entry into the EU, and to enforce EU regulations.' Curran added: It is a small domestic industry but it is growing. We also protect the consumer from fraudulent products.' The aim of the CPS is to develop and promote policies that provide freedom and encouragement for individuals to pursue the aspirations they have for themselves and their families, within the security and obligations of a stable and law-abiding nation.'