Thursday, 14 October 2010
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.