Guy Aitchison (London, OK): The Taxpayers’ Alliance has released a report documenting the size and cost of Britain’s bewildering array of non-elected public bodies, what it calls our “unseen government”. Key findings are:
Now the Taxpayers’ Alliance clearly has its own agenda here, but it strikes me these figures should be of concern to everyone and not just those ideologically committed to lower taxes and smaller government. These obscure bodies exercise extensive control over our lives but we know next to nothing about them. Not only do they lack democratic accountability; they are, according to a recent NLGN report, utterly unrepresentative in their make up. Any hope of indirect accountability is frustrated by the Government’s refusal to provide a clear picture of their size and cost, despite strong criticism from the Public Administration select committee in 2003.
So leaving aside how much of the £64 billion a year is “waste” (as the TPA says) and how much goes towards providing valuable services, it seems obvious that basic principles of transparency and democratic accountability are not being met.
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