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Call for PM in waiting to axe surplus quangos

PUBLISHED: 11:46 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

THE head of a pressure group has warned the Tory leader he must walk the walk rather than just talking the talk after promising to cut back on quangos. David Cameron echoed Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as he pledged to cut quangos if

THE head of a pressure group has warned the Tory leader he must "walk the walk rather than just talking the talk" after promising to cut back on quangos.

David Cameron echoed Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as he pledged to cut quangos if he comes to power at the next election.

But, the head of the Tax Payers' Alliance (TPA) has warned they are useful to a party once they are in government as they can be used as a smokescreen.

Chief Executive of the TPA Matthew Elliott said: "It is wrong to have people spending taxpayers' money and making crucial decisions about public services outside democratic control.

"In opposition, politicians of all sides have agreed that these quangos need to be severely cut back, but in government they tend to use them as a smokescreen to dodge blame and pass the buck.

"It is encouraging that David Cameron has pledged to rein them in, but he must walk the walk rather than just talking the talk as previous politicians like Blair, Brown and Thatcher did."

Leader of the Opposition on Bromley council David McBride said: "On the face of it [David Cameron's] promises seem to be a good idea as long as he takes into account the ones that we set up in local government as well.

"These working parties and working committees need to be looked at as well as national quangos."

There has been a dispute locally whether A Picture of Health (APoH), who proposed the axing of the A&E at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, constituted a quango as they regarded themselves a 'project' and not an organisation.

A spokesperson for APoH said: "Each Primary Care Trust (PCT) is a statutory NHS body. A picture of health is just the name of a project where four PCTs are working together to achieve a common goal.

"When the PCTs work together, we reduce duplication."

But Mr Elliott from the TPA said: "The PCTs are quangos, and in setting APoH they have created an even less accountable body to spend public money. It is a quango that is the child of quangos. This is sadly a reflection of the ridiculous growth of the quango state - more and more of our money and our services are outside democratic control but operating in the name of the people.

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