Socialist Worker

‘Bonfire of the quangos’ will hit services

Issue No. 2212

The government has enthusiastically begun slashing “quangos” this week.

It claims these government funded “arms-length bodies” clog departments with red tape and waste money that would be better spent on “frontline” services.

More than 20 quangos were scrapped, this first batch relating to health and culture. Health secretary Andrew Lansley says the health cuts will “save” £180 million.

In the past, socialists have often been unsympathetic to quangos. Many were introduced to semi-privatise services or remove them from public scrutiny.

But abolishing some of them will remove services used by millions of people. Among those to be shut are:

  • The Health Protection Agency—handled public health emergencies such as swine flu

  • The National Patient Safety Agency—monitored NHS patient safety incidents, including medication and prescribing errors

  • The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse—oversaw drug and alcohol treatment

  • Museums, Libraries and Archives Council—improved regional museums

    The Tories are also threatening to close the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Food Standards Agency.

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    Article information

    Tue 27 Jul 2010, 17:54 BST
    Issue No. 2212
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