Thursday, 14 October 2010

Bonfire Day

Up to 200 quangos will be axed today.  Another 150 taxpayer-funded bodies will be merged and a handful of others will be privatised.

But it came to light yesterday that many of those employed by quangos will simply be rehired by government departments. Francis Maude will stop short of saying how much money will be saved or how many jobs will be lost, in part because they have not been able to calculate the sometimes huge costs of redundancy payments.  Doesn't it say a great deal about government when politicians admit they can't calculate the cost of redundancies?

The Department of Education is planning to axe quangos which currently cost taxpayers £267 million, though not all those costs are expected to be saved.  The Department of Health aims to save more than £180 million by cutting 30 bodies or seizing control of their functions. British Waterways was expected to be scrapped yet the agency will simply become a charity, preserving its existence and 2000 staff.

The biggest cut will come in the Environment Department where 50 quangos will be killed off.  Is it any wonder we're fed a diet of environment propaganda when there were 50 quangos involved in substantiating their existence?

It's expected that 400 quangos will survive untouched and critics are stating that even if the savings hit £1billion, that would represent just 2.6% of the total amount spent on non-departmental bodies.

The Scottish Government hoped to have 'a bonfire of quangos' when they took office in 2007, yet it hasn't been an easy task.  We can but hope the Westminster government has a smoother run - once they find someone who is prepared to do the sums regarding the cost of redundancies.  Then, of course, they must also include the  golden handshakes which will be paid to the hundreds who are paid excessive salaries.



Stuart Dickson said...

Sorry to go off-topic, but I just wanted to let you know that we have our first betting price information regarding May. None of the big bookies or betting exchanges have published odds yet (not online anyway!), but newcomer smarkets have done so.

Latest Welsh and Scottish prices: - Welsh Assembly elections - Most seats?

Lab 4/6
PC 7/4
LD 40/1
Any other 49/1
Con 50/1 - Scottish Parliament elections - Most seats?

Lab 1/3
SNP 11/8
LD 40/1
Con 45/1
Any other 49/1

Edward Spalton said...

Most regulation comes from the EU one way or another. So the functions of regulatory Quangos will simply be shuffled round.

I remember when Michael Heseltine decided to have a "bonfire of regulations". The peak of his achievement was that pedlars would no longer need a local authority licence and - wait for it there! -
Ladies in Scotland would be allowed to become cattle slaughterers.

Oldrightie said...

"Ladies in Scotland would be allowed to become cattle slaughterers."
As opposed to man eaters, Edward?

Hamish said...

It can be a good thing for a quango to become a charity. The functions are continued and jobs are maintained.
PROVIDED that the lion's share of the funding comes from the public who support the aims of the body. People can be very generous if they are allowed to choose what they support with their money.
Trouble is, a quite a few charities derive a lot of their funds from the public purse in one form or another.

subrosa said...

Stuart, that's very kind of you to list that. I'm sure plenty will be interest. Many thanks.

subrosa said...

Oh Edward, I can always guarantee you'll bring a smile. :)

subrosa said...

Not just quite a few Hamish, there's a list online about them. Google 'fake charities' and you'll get it. All paid for by the taxpayers.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

Happy Bonfire Day SR. I only counted 27 whose functions will be abolished along with the body. Still, a good start!

JRB said...

I was drawn to the title of your post – Bonfire Day – this is October, surely that is something that happens next month. I must be missing something.

Anyway, back to the post. I would love to have see the dissolution of the vast majority of quangos. Sadly, this exercise appears to be no more than a redistribution of personnel and resources.
So, my initial pleasure at the news has been somewhat tainted by the detail of what is actually about to happen.

With the advancing years my brain is a little slow to pick up on things, and Bonfire Day was still rattling about in my head. Then it came to me – eureka - it was a take on “Bonfire Of The Vanities” by Tom Wolfe – a tale of ambition, social class, politics, and greed.
How very apt.

Clarinda said...

I've either given up or become a real cynic when I hear "democracy" and "accountability" rattled off by politicians on the make by grasping a little more state control sneaked in by the back door. This bonfire diversion is just tinkering with a 'must be seen to be doing something/anything scam.

I watch with increasing belief/despair an outrageously wise chap called Max Keiser (whose full on financial predictions are horribly accurate) - on his blog who reports that we are being jollied along while bankers and their ilk are buying up gold to cushion themselves when all our paper money accounts and pension funds are bankrupted by the shysters.
Magicians are experts at smoke and mirrors but I fear they learned their craft from politicians.

Demetrius said...

It is all one huge dreadful mess that will take a generation or more to sort out. Will Valhalla be on fire optic I ask.

Question, when I try to look at Ann Raccoon all I get is something called bluehost. Has her site been done for or what, do you know?

subrosa said...

I've just read your post PP. It's much more up to date that this one of course. Thanks.

subrosa said...

Sorry if you think I misled you John. When I was looking for information about our quangos the words jumped out and I thought would be suitable for a title.

Yes that's what I'm sure John Swinney meant by his 'Bonfire of the Quangos' remark.

subrosa said...

I can't disagree with Max Keiser either Clarinda. It's exactly what's happening. The bankers are going on in their way and nobody will stop them. Politicians have too much to loose.

Mr Pickles is just moving the furniture round in the offices.

subrosa said...

Demetrius, she has decided to give up blogging. There's a post from her at G.O.T's place.

She's also decided to get rid of the blog and I can understand why. When you're an independent thinker you'll always be persecuted. Eventually enough is enough, especially when it's not your livelihood.

Demetrius said...

Many thanks re Anna, what a pity. Another very valuable commentator, The Slog has also stopped amongst others. I am beginning to feel like the boy who stood on the burning deck (Casabianca by Felicia Hemans).

Sue said...

As Edward said, it's merely cutting out the middle man. The Conservatives have begun to cease denying that we are wholly ruled by that giant quango called the European Commission.

subrosa said...

I'm feeling very lonely right now Demetrius. She was a great support when I felt like giving up.

subrosa said...

The middle man doesn't necessarily save money though Sue does he? The seller just puts their prices up.

Joe Public said...

"Bonfire of the Quangos".

The Carbon Trust will be most annoyed, all that extra CO2.

The Energy Saving Trust will be in two minds: It will create extra CO2, but maybe it's heat can be utilised to save other fuels.

Allan said...

Hmmm... seems to be an excersise in throwing the bathwater out with the baby if you ask me, a huge smokescreen to get rid of The Audit Commission, which was not popular with Tory polititians & Ken Livingstone. As for Consumer Focus, no consideration, as far as i can see, has been made for the statutory powers that this organisation took on with the merger of Postwatch and Energywatch. Nice timing as well with the privatisation of the Royal Mail appearing as a white paper this week too.

The overall tone seams to be can we save money with that - yes - lets hang the consequences.

Hamish said...

Throwing the bathwater out with the baby, Allan?
Having spent a week looking after my grandsons, I understand your sentiment.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that most of these Quangos have been packed with Labour placemen/women whom the Tories want rid of because of the unelected power they hold. It would have taken the Tories years to replace them by normal retirement and replacement means, time the Tories felt they could not afford. So the Tories did decided to simply get rid of the Quangos instead.

subrosa said...

Ah the Carbon Trust Joe. Just the very name makes my toothache worse.

subrosa said...

All the decisions involved quangos which the tories weren't fond of Allan. It's how they do things isn't it.

subrosa said...

I never thought of it from that angle M. Good point indeed.

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