UK Politics

Conservative Party: Government spends another £10bn on quangos

News   •   Feb 05, 2010 09:11 GMT

Francis Maude, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, has criticised the soaring bill for the cost of unelected and poorly accountable government bodies.

Quango spending under Gordon Brown has risen by nearly £10 billion, according to the annual survey of Government quangos.

"Gordon Brown continues to burn taxpayers’ money on a quango gravy train, making a mockery of his claims to deliver a new politics", Maude said.

The small print reveals that in Gordon Brown’s first year in office, total expenditure on so-called "executive non-departmental public bodies" rose from £37.0 billion to £43.0 billion in 2007-08 - and new figures show that quango expenditure rose by another £3.5 billion to £46.5 billion in 2008-09.

This is despite the definition excluding executive agencies, advisory non-departmental public bodies, public corporations, informal taskforces, regional government and private companies which perform public sector activities.

The report also fails to provide detailed breakdowns by individual quango, meaning there are no clear figures on where this extra money has been spent. "This whole tier of bureaucracy lacks proper accountability and transparency over how they spend our money", Maude said.

There are some heritage organisations included in this list – Conservatives have called for museums and galleries to be given a different status from the proliferation of state quangos, which would promote their independence.

Although the Government claims it wants to reduce the number of Arms Length Bodies – this is mainly achieved only by merging quangos or cutting tiny advisory committees.

Maude added that the Conservatives would "require all public bodies to publish more information on their expenditure, transfer powers from unelected bodies to local communities, and make administrative savings whilst protecting frontline services like hospitals".