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Quangos

Volume 974: debated on Monday 19 November 1979

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24.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many quasi autonomous national government organisations for which he is responsible have been abolished; and what progress is being made towards the abolition of the remainder.

Announcements have been made that I intend to abolish the Price Commission and the Metrication Board. Departmental funds are being withdrawn from 120 consumer advice centres. A review of the remaining bodies is in hand. The total saving arising from these measures amounts to over £11 million a year.

Although I welcome my right hon. Friend's announcement, and the progress that he has made so far, may I ask him to tell the House how many more quangos he proposes to abolish and what the net saving to the taxpayer will be in that event?

I cannot answer that question, because our review of the other bodies is still in hand. I hope that we may be able to save more of the taxpayers' money in this area in future.

Will the Minister confirm that he is already in the process of setting up another quango for pilots; that is the Pilotage Commission? How much will it cost?

I know how very faithfully the hon. Gentleman supported his own Government when they were in office. I must tell him that I did not propose the establishment of the Pilotage Commission. That proposal came from right hon. Gentlemen now in opposition. I believe that the Pilotage Commission is necessary and that it will perform an important role. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to find out more about it, he should ask his right hon. Friends.