\”Bang go all the quangos\” – Sun

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By Andrew Nicoll

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A report by think tank Reform Scotland said too much political power is wielded by non-elected public bodies like Scottish Enterprise and visitScotland.

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It said they soaked up an annual £3.5billion of taxpayers\’ cash – with the figure rising to a staggering £13.5BILLION when NHS boards are included.

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The report complained the bodies are "neither accountable nor transparent" despite taking up 10 per cent of the Government\’s budget.

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It suggested most of the country\’s 115 quangos are abolished.

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The call came amid rising concern over the level of salaries and bonuses paid to some public sector chiefs. We told last month how the fatcats snubbed a plea to hand back part of their annual payouts.

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Reform Scotland director Geoff Mawdsley said: "One of the key disadvantages of handing over so much power to non-elected quangos is, when something goes wrong, ministers are given a way out.

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"They can shift responsibility and when that happens democracy automatically suffers.

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"Our remedy for this would mean all quangos, apart from tribunals such as the Children\’s Panel system, would cease to exist altogether."

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The Scottish Government had pledged to slash the number of quangos by a quarter in a "bonfire" promised by past administrations.

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But with just a year to go, only 11 of the 50 earmarked have been abolished.

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And though they have been cut, they are employing MORE staff, up from 9,900 at devolution to nearly 14,900 in 2008.

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Reform Scotland argues that quangos operate in a "no-man\’s land", being neither fully accountable to the public through ministers nor fully independent of government.

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The report recommends that more of their duties are performed by local authorities "to ensure accountability to communities".

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