Government sets light to its bonfire of quangos

THE government will this morning announce which quangos it plans to scrap or merge, as it seeks to cut the deficit and improve democratic accountability.

Francis Maude, the cabinet office minister, will tell Parliament at 9.30am which of the 700 agencies has been spared.

A merger of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission, which are both charged with promoting competition, is thought to be on the cards, as ministers believe they have several overlapping functions.

However, the Prime Minister’s spokesman yesterday played down earlier claims that the quangos are being scrapped to cut the public sector payroll and deficit, as many of the agencies’ responsibilities will simply be taken over by central government.