A group of academics at universities in Sheffield and Birmingham have claimed that UKIP’s plan to cut spending on quangos is over-simplistic. I don’t agree.
It is always possible for researchers to find some quangos that do good work, whereas others (for example the Potato Council – yes, it does really exist and pays its staff an average of over £47,000 per year: www.potato.org.uk) have clearly had their chips.
Professor Flinders suggests that the BBC (which costs an annual £145.50 per household – £3.8 billion) is an example of a good quango. But in its current state it is poor value for our taxes; how ironic that the report was published on the day many former BBC employees were revealed to have received hundreds of thousands of pounds each in payoffs!
Dr. Dommett is quite right to point out that previous governments have failed to achieve massive savings through quango reform, but this is a symptom of a lack of political will rather than evidence that savings can’t be made. It’s not just about the savings either. A quango carrying out an essential function could be streamlined to become part of a government department and subject to greater democratic accountability.