IF YOU THOUGHT BREXIT MEANT THE END OF RED TAPE, THINK AGAIN...
QUANGOCRATS are taking over as Brussels bureaucrats lose their powers to meddle in the UK.
Research from the Commons Library released earlier this month shows that at least four new powerful unelected bodies have been set up by the Government following the UK’s departure from the EU.
The Office for Environmental Protection, the Trade Remedies Authority, the Independent Monitoring Authority and the Office for the Internal Market have all come into being to oversee regulations shifted from Brussels to Whitehall.
They take the country’s tally of quangos – short for quasi-autonomous non-government agencies – to just under 300, according to the research. Their emergence is certain to increase the annual bill to taxpayers for such bodies. In 2019, quangos cost £206billion and employed nearly 300,000 people.
That figure compares with around £280billion spent by the Treasury so far on supporting the economy through the pandemic.
Included on the roster of quangos are 235 non-departmental public bodies, 39 executive agencies and 20 non-ministerial departments.
The largest are NHS England and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, which cost £115billion and £57billion in 2019. In the short term, setting up the new bodies to oversee regulations imported from Brussels was a sensible move that has helped to ensure a smooth end to the UK’s transition out of EU rules. It prevented a sudden legal vacuum that could have been damaging to British firms.
Yet the overall size of the quango sector is an issue the Government will need to address in the effort to reduce public spending and set businesses free from excessive red tape.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under huge pressure to find Whitehall savings to help pay the Treasury’s eye-watering Covid bills. Taking an axe to the bloated quangocracy might be a useful place to start.