Good news from The Guardian. They report that Conservative local government leaders are drawing up proposals for substantial savings if various Quangos were abolished and their work taken on by local councils.

They report:

The Conservative leader of Kent county council, Paul Carter, is working with other south-east county leaders on plans for a transfer of responsibility from quangos, such as the Regional Development
Agencies, the Highways Agency, Learning and Skills Council and the Homes and Communities Agency to county councils and sub-regions.

He said £5bn, or 10%, savings were available in the south-east alone. Similar savings would be possible in other regions. Carter, chair of South East England Councils, said: "Take out the overhead costs, the administration costs, the chief executives and staff and office accommodation and everything else under the sun, as well as an acceptance that everyone has got to make do with a little bit less, then a 10% reduction in costs is for starters. It is quite possible to be more draconian if there is a need for bigger public sector cuts."

Also reported are proposals from Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex County Council, that there should be local control over welfare – including the setting of benefit rates. This would help the Council tackle worklessness in response to local conditions.

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