Tuesday, May 20, 2008

QUANGOs: invisible government

Now, this is a report that I've been waiting for for a very long time: the Taxpayer's Alliance Assessment of UK QUANGOs [PDF]: here are the main findings.
  • There are 1,162 quangos in the UK, running at a total cost to the taxpayer of £64 billion, equivalent to £2,550 per household.

  • Even under the Cabinet Office’s restrictive definition of quangos, the cost of these bodies has risen 50% in the last ten years.

  • UK quangos now employ an army of almost 700,000 bureaucrats.

  • Even the Government itself does not know the full extent of the unaccountable quango industry, which range from the massive e.g. Job Centre Plus (Staff: 70,042, Cost: £3.5 billion) and the Courts Service (Staff: 19,986, Cost: £704.8 million); to the bizarre e.g. the British Potato Council (Staff: 49); or the West Northants Development Corporation (Staff: 34, Cost: £15.3 million).

  • When the total number of quangos is added to the other government subsidiaries such as local authorities and NHS trusts, the total number of organisations controlled by the UK Government rises to 2,063, costing the taxpayer £257 billion and employing over 5.1 million people.

Obviously, when Libertarian Party UK were looking at the best way in which we might slice away state spending in order to present our Income Tax Abolition policy plausibly, we (somewhat flippantly) looked to QUANGOs as we reasoned that there were considerable savings to be made in this department.

Furthermore, we also dislike QUANGOs—even were levels of spending much lower—because they are not directly accountable to the electorate: whilst we can vote MPs out, there is no way in which we can directly affect QUANGO budgets or the people who administer and spend said budgets (indeed, it is for this reason that LPUK policy is to dissolve them).

The figures that the TPA have unearthed are, quite frankly, staggering: LPUK shall be trawling through the report with a fine toothcomb (when I get some time) and establishing which QUANGOs can be abolished outright—yes, Potato Council: I'm looking at you and your International Year of the Potato—and which could be drastically scaled back within a short timeframe.

Just remember that the total spent by QUANGOs and organisations that are QUANGOs in all but name is £257 billion: by contrast, income tax raises a little less £150 billion...

8 comments:

Dan said...

I entirely agree with the sentiment of your post.

Just one thing; that TPA report - how are Job Centre Plus or The Courts Service QUANGOs? One is part of the Department for Work and Pensions and t'other is run by the Ministry of Justice.

http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/JCP/index.html

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/

iain dale's mum said...

Maybe you can admit this, but I bet a lot of your contributors can't. The Tories are responsiblke for QUANGOs (rising crime, welfare dependency, single parenthood, divorce) as much as Labour. Only a government that isn't fucking repulsive and dishonest will stand up to them. Which rules out Camoron & pals. The sheer hypocrisy of fucking mongs like Iain Dale spouting their shit on the issue has to be seen to be believed.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Iain Dale's mum makes good points. The Tories kicked this all off, Nulab just made it worse (twice as bad? Three times?), every fule kno that at least 20% of gummint spending (i.e. about £100 billion per anum) is wasted on jobs-for-the boys. All this chit-chat about "sharing the proceeds of growth" is utter crap.

Tax lawyer said...

Abolishing income tax could have been simple.

If the government, since 2000, had increased its spending only by inflation, it would now be spending £231 billion less than it actually is.

£231 billion.

That's enough to abolish income tax AND corporation tax (no companies buggering off to Ireland then!), AND inheritance tax, AND stamp duty, AND spirits duty (so that we can celebrate properly).

All that the government would have to do is spend the same (allowing for inflation) as it did in 2000. Are the public services really so much better now than they were then?

Anonymous said...

Do your teeth regularly need combing? I've never come across people with hairy teeth. What's it feel like?

Paul said...

What this doesn't include is the enormous cost of pandering to the regulatory quangos. To justify their existence they generate reams of pointless rules which people spend days filling in, you have to employ people simply to satisfy the quango.

Another peculiarity which is almost universal is if you complain about them, you complain *to* them - they deal with their own complaints.

Anonymous said...

"By taxation we will make make society a better and fairer place to live" - Gordons unspoken manifesto. Unfortunately a vast amount of that taxation is pissed away, as you rightly say, and not just "arms length bodies". When last I worked in a government department I couldnt help but notice many of my colleagues email addresses ended not .gov.uk, but pwc.co.uk . Half the staff on the payroll were fucking management consultants posing as civil servants.My equivalent grade PAYE contractor rate was £38 per hour.Vast amounts of expenditure is hidden off balance sheet to make it look like savings targets have been acheived.

Anonymous said...

Personally i love bnp. i SUCKED NICK griffins dick and its about 1 inch long lol. wata fcking loser