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
It was announced during the summer that the culture department (DCMS) will be slimmed down and moved to another building in Whitehall, vacating its existing premises at Cockspur Street, just off Trafalgar Square.
Progress is going well, we are told. One option is to move into the spare space at the Treasury, where George Osborne is getting staff to sit closer together at smaller desks to free up almost an entire floor. It’s not clear whether the culture officials would relish the prospect of sitting next to the financial disciplinarians from the Treasury, however. Read more
When the coalition on May 12 pushed out its announcement for which MPs would take up ministerial roles there was a noticable delay when it came to Defra posts. I can reveal that David Cameron did intend a significant reshuffling between that department and DECC.
The idea was to add “environment” to DECC (creating DEECC, perhaps), beefing up the department controlled by Chris Huhne. I’m told that the documentation was all written and ready to send out. Several responsibilities would have been shorn from Defra, including the entire Environment Agency. Something that day made the new prime minister change his mind. Read more