Ministers criticised over quango costs

The cost of the UK’s burgeoning number of quangos has increased by a half
over the last decade, according to research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

by the campaigning body reveals there are 1,162 quangos running at a total cost
to the taxpayer of £64 billion, equivalent to £2,550 per household.

Although the number of such organisations has fallen since 1997, from 1,128
to 827, the cost has soared from some £19 billion in 1997 to £31 billion in
2007, claims the Alliance.

Ben Farrugia, report author and policy analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance,
said: ‘Government in the UK is now so large, diverse and complex that it is
impossible for anyone to manage effectively, let alone by ministers with no
prior experience of management and little in-depth understanding of the work
carried out by their departments. Government today tries to do too much, and
consequently fails; the structure of government needs to change if we hope to
see better value and significant improvements in our public services.’

The alliance criticises the government for failing to follow up on a public
administration select committee’s recommendation five years ago that it publish
a list of the UK’s quangos.

It claims the government does not know the full extent of the unaccountable
quango industry, which range from Job Centre Plus which employs 70,042, at a
cost £3.5bn to more obscure organisations such as the British Potato Council
with 49 staff.

The Cabinet Office stopped publishing a breakdown of the bodies’ finances
last year and provided overall figures claiming Britain had 827 public bodies
that cost the taxpayer £32bn.

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