Government insists 'bonfire of quangos' will save £2.6bn
Wednesday 22 August 2012
The Government has insisted its “bonfire of the quangos” is on track to save the taxpayer £2.6 billion.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that 106 of the more than 900 bodies in existence at the general election have now been axed. Mergers have cut numbers by a further 80.
"The changes we have already made will save £1.4 billion, but by 2015 the Government will save the taxpayer a total of more than £2.6 billion - that's more than £150 per working household," Mr Maude said.
"We have already closed 106 bodies and merged 150 bodies into fewer than 70, but we are only halfway through the first phase of our programme.
"Once we have completed the planned closures and mergers, we will continue to review all remaining quangos to ensure that never again will we end up with so many of these vast bureaucratic and unaccountable bodies."
The influential Commons Public Accounts Committee has previously questioned the £2.6 billion savings estimate, warning it is based on "incomplete and imprecise" information.
The up-front costs of the reorganisation are forecast to be anywhere between £600 million and £900 million.
However, the Cabinet Office insisted the figures had been checked and signed off by top civil servants at departments.
Institute for Government programme director Tom Gash said Mr Maude seemed to be engaged in a "slash and burn" exercise.
"If the figures do stand up to scrutiny and there has been no decrease in government performance in services, this is a good thing but the reliability of the savings claimed is questionable," he said.
"Slash and burn exercises have proved counter-productive in the past and can even incur more costs in the long-run."
TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: "The abolition or merging of scores of unnecessary, costly and bureaucratic quangos by this Government is to be welcomed.
"But as Francis Maude rightly says, there is plenty more to do in terms of cracking down on the quango state: so not only must he keep these unaccountable bodies in his sights, but also ensure that any savings made by their abolition or downsizing are not frittered away by others in Whitehall."
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: "This so-called clampdown is not what it seems.
"The true picture of David Cameron's Government is of a failed economic plan which has delivered a double-dip recession and £150 billion more borrowing than they planned.
"Far from cutting bureaucracy they've launched an unwanted and wasteful upheaval of the NHS, creating a new NHS Commissioning Board, which David Cameron has been warned 'could turn into the greatest quango in the sky' while the NHS is losing nurses at a rate of 200 per month."
- 2 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 4 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks busy Dublin road
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Edward Heath 'child sex abuse' allegation: Investigation to be held into Wiltshire police handling of alleged claim in the 1990s
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...
£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: ACS qualified Domestic Gas Brea...
£16250 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Product Packager / Stock Assistant is ...