Britain is cutting nearly 200 agencies from its thicket of bureaucracy, the government said Thursday, handing pink slips to organizations with such names as the Horserace Totalisator Board and the Government Hospitality Advisory Committee on the Purchase of Wines.
The agencies are known as « quangos » — or quasi-autonomous non-government organizations — each one a power center that is not accountable to public. The 901 quangos carry out various government functions, handling 13 percent of total government spending with 15 big quangos controlling three-fourths of that expenditure.
The Conservative-led government has promised deep cuts in spending to grapple with record national debts, but its primary argument for abolishing quangos was to restore accountability in decision-making.
Other quangos marked for extinction included the British Hallmarking Council, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Advisory Body, the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords, the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites, and the Railway Heritage Committee.
Some quangos would survive in other forms, perhaps taken back into government departments or handed off to local governments, others will be merged, Maude said. The Design Council and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts will be turned into self-financing charities.