One by one, the quangos are abolished. But at what cost?

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David Cameron vowed in opposition to rein in Britain's quango state in an attack on a bloated public sector.

His threatened cull of taxpayer-funded organisations yesterday became reality for thousands of workers as the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, announced that half of the "arms-length bodies" run by his department were to be abolished.

The move to scrap such quangos as the Health Protection Agency provoked anger among nurses and doctors' organisations, which warned that public wellbeing would suffer as a result.

Across Whitehall, Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, was facing a backlash from the arts community as he brought the curtain down on the UK Film Council. To date, the Government has axed at least 80 quangos and warned many others that they faced mergers or deep cuts. In many cases their work will be transferred to Whitehall departments.

Many more are to suffer the same fate as ministers desperately hunt for savings of at least 25 per cent in their departmental budgets. One senior government source said last night: "There will be further announcements. We believe that plenty of low-hanging fruit remains."

Quangos are inevitably in the firing line in the search for apparently easy savings. The acronym – short for quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation – has become a byword among politicians for profligacy. However, critics warn that axing some of the bodies will remove the independent system for monitoring the work of government.

Some quangos also argue that they save the taxpayer more than they cost. Regional development agencies – long the target of Tory politicians – insist they attract investment into hard-pressed regions. There will also be a cost to the taxpayer as thousands of quango employees join dole queues in the next four years. Ministers hope that a recovering private sector will offer them jobs.



*UK Film Council
*Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
*Advisory Council on Libraries
*Legal Deposit Advisory Panel
*Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck S ites


*Health Protection Agency (HPA)
*National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA)
*National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse
*Alcohol Education and Research Council
*Appointments Commission (CQC)
*Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (by end of this Parliament)
*Human Tissue Authority
*Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (to be made a self-funding body by charging a levy on regulators)
*NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement


*General Teaching Council
*Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
*British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA)


*All eight regional Government Offices: South-West, South-East, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, North-West, Yorkshire & the Humber and North-East
*Eight out of the nine regional development agencies (the exception being London) and some of their local subsidiaries: Advantage West Midlands, East Midlands Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward, South-West Regional Development Agency, South-East England Development Agency, East of England Development Agency, North-West Regional Development Agency, One North-East
*Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property policy (SABIP)
*SITPRO (Simplifying International Trade)
*Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Advisory Body (WAB)
*British Shipbuilders Corporation
*Learning & Skills Improvement Service
*Institute for Learning
*Standards and Verification UK
*Hearing Aid Council
*Investors in People UK


*National Policing Improvement Agency


*Sustainable Development Commission (funding withdrawn)
*Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
*Agricultural Wages Board, the 15 Agricultural Wages Committees, the 16 Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees and the Committee on Agricultural Valuation
*Inland Waterways Advisory Council
*The Commons Commissioners
*Infrastructure Planning Commission
*Commission for Rural Communities



*UK Sport and Sport England
*National Lottery Commission with the Gambling Commission



*Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund – could be merged
*Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships (declassified, functions transferred to another body)
*Theatres Trust (declassified, so can act as an independent statutory advisory body)
*Churches Conservation Trust (could be declassified, pending talks with the Church of England)
*Visit England and Visit Britain (status, role and functions will change)
*Design Council (under review)


*Local Better Regulation Office
*ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
*Local Better Regulation Office
*Ofcom (in the short term it is losing its policy making power)


*Food Standards Agency (its responsibilities have been much reduced)


*Carbon Trust (could be merged into new UK Green Investment Bank)


*Partnership for Schools (school-building)
*Training and Development Agency (was facing the axe, but may now be spared)


*Children's Commissioner for England – under review
*Equality and Human Rights Commission – has been accused of wastefulness by Home Secretary and faces further cuts