Every quango, including the Care Quality Commission, Monitor and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will be reviewed by the Conservative Party to assess whether it should be closed or scaled back.
Tory leader David Cameron has pledged to cut the number of quasi-autonomous governmental organisations and quash their policy-making roles, in “a massive shift in power from bureaucracy to democracy”.
He told BBC Breakfast too many quangos had become “lobbying organisations” duplicating the policy-making work of government departments.
He said: “They start having their own communications departments, their own press officers, they start making policy rather than just delivering policy and their bosses are paid vast amounts of money.”
Quangos cost between £34bn and £60bn, and 68 bosses earn more than the prime minister, he said.
Quango heads who would be exposed using this supposed benchmark include Care Quality Commission chief executive Cynthia Bower, who earned between £195,000 and £200,000 in 2008-09, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence chief executive Andrew Dillon, who was paid £202,000 in 2007-08, and Monitor executive chairman Bill Moyes, whose basic salary is £215,000 a year.
Mr Cameron will today tell the Reform think tank: “Too many state actions, services and decisions are carried out by people who cannot be voted out by the public, by organisations that feel no pressure to answer for what happens, in a way that is completely unaccountable.”
He will say that reform is vital to tackle the crisis of confidence caused by the expenses scandal, and that the myriad quangos are to blame for a widespread feeling that “nothing ever changes”.
If the Conservatives win the next election, he will say, ministers will set the rules under which quangos operate, and be directly responsible for them.
He was responding to a statement by Liam Byrne, chief secretary to the Treasury, that a detailed review of quangos is under way to “make sure every penny of public money goes to frontline services”.
That has been dismissed as “laughable” by the Tories, as the number has risen dramatically since Labour came to power in 1997, despite Gordon Brown promising a “bonfire of the quangos”.