As the BBC reported:
More than 100 quangos have been axed and a further 90 merged into other bodies since the coalition came to power, ministers have said.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the cull of publicly funded agencies was on track to save £2.6bn by the end of this Parliament.
Maude celebrated such apparent efficiency, saying:
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.
But it seems not everyone is as buoyed by the news as Maude is. The Institute for Government think tank, which looks at all things Whitehall, has laid into the government this morning, accusing it of cutting quangos without considering the consequences. The IfG’s Tom Gash says:
The reliability of the savings claimed is questionable. Slash and burn exercises have proved counter-productive in the past and can even incur more costs in the long-run.
It is a criticism the National Audit Office has previously made too. In a report the NAO published in January, it commented:
Information is not yet consistently available to identify baseline administrative spending.
In other words, we don’t know how much the quango cull is saving, because we don’t know how much they currently cost – let alone whether the alternative would be any less expensive.