We learned this morning of the latest progress in the so-called “bonfire of the quangos”, the sharp cuts to semi-governmental bodies being carried out by Francis Maude, the cabinet office minister.
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.
When Francis Maude said a few weeks ago that he was culling 192 quangos he couldn’t put a number on how much money the coalition would save. And no wonder. The cost of any government reorganisation can quickly mount in terms of redundancy payments, closing down offices and so on – before you get any net benefits.
Regional Development Agencies will require a further £1.4bn-plus of state funding over the next four years despite their abolition in the spending review, officials have just confirmed.
The nine regional quangos, which are to be replaced with a patchwork of “local enterprise partnerships” – loose networks of councils and companies – cannot be axed immediately and instead will be wound down gradually with heavy redundancy costs for staff. Read more
News just in from the culture department where many of its 55 public bodies are to be abolished, merged or streamlined.
The most eye-catching is the abolition of the UK Film Council, which invests government grants and Lottery money in film development. (Although Jeremy Hunt, culture secretary, insists that ‘government and Lottery support for film will continue’).
The body has helped to fund 900 films since it was set up in 2000, although it’s not exactly clear from its website which ones they were. (The BBC tells us that they include Bend it Like Beckham and the Last King of Scotland – pictured).
Also to be abolished is the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Ditto the Advisory Council on Libraries and the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel. And the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites. Read more