Hain's Quango "Cull" Disappointing - Trimble

We wanted the Review of Public administration to increase democratic accountability by absorbing most quangos either into Departments or local government.

So the Secretary of State’s statement disappoints. The claimed reduction from 81 to 53 is misleading. Most of the change comes from reorganisations and mergers. Only about 10 cease to be quangos through the complete transfer of their functions to local or central government.

One welcome change is the greater role for Local Government in Housing. But I would, however, urge Mr Hain to clarify just what he means by saying that some of the Housing Executive’s “non-core functions will transfer when the new councils are established in 2009”.

I think the function that most of all merits transfer to the local level is local estate management. This is a matter where local knowledge and local accountability could produce is significant improvement in the quality of local housing management. It is also an aspect where the Housing Executive, at certain times and places, was at its weakest.

(March 22nd, 2006)

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