Most of Scotland’s 115 quangos should be abolished in a bid to improve democracy, a think tank has said.

Reform Scotland said too much political power was currently in the hands of the unelected groups.

A decision will need to be taken as to whether functions could be transferred back to existing government departments, or the quango turned into a genuinely autonomous body

It argued quangos such as Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland operated in a “no-man’s land”, being neither fully accountable to the public through ministers nor fully independent of government.

Reform Scotland said there were 115 quangos, costing the Scottish government more than £13bn in 2008-09 - although almost £10m went to NHS bodies.

Director Geoff Mawdsley recommended most quangos, apart from tribunals such as the Children’s Panel system, should “cease to exist altogether”.

The think tank made the demand amid continuing concern about the level of salaries and bonuses paid to some quango bosses.

Officials have called for the work of quangos to be carried out by government departments or for them to be made fully independent bodies.

Mr Mawdsley said: “In respect of each body, a decision will need to be taken as to whether its functions could be transferred back to existing government departments reporting directly to a minister, or the quango turned into a genuinely autonomous body.”