The Cabinet Office revealed last week that, although the number of quangos is down in the two years to 2009 by 7% to 766 (some people think there are nearer 1,200), the costs in that period rose by 25% to £46.5bn. Quangocrats are paying themselves increasing amounts to achieve very little at all.
Brown’s plan is to merge some of them, but the outcome of that will be still higher costs, as the quangocrats promote each other in the enlarged units.
Cameron has promised a bonfire of quangos. So how will he go about it? Suggestions that all quangos, with a very few meritorious exceptions, will be closed down en bloc and made to apply for their jobs have been dismissed as too radical. The Cameron plan is to study each one in turn. Terrific! We will then have another 1,000 quangos studying the 1,000 we already have.
At a stroke the quangocrats, whose main purpose in life is to preserve their incomes, will have doubled the size of their empire. And don’t expect them to be in any hurry to conclude their reviews. Where else would they find such comfortable employment?