Tory proposals face opposition from business community

Plans to cut 162 government bodies seen as misguided

Small businesses have dismissed Tory plans to cull government quangos as a ‘muddle’. If voted into power, the Conservatives state that they would scrap 162 of the bodies, which oversee government organisations and processes, at a total estimated saving of £4.3 billion a year.

The promise comes as part of a wide range of money-saving cuts planned by the Tories. Last year, the party promised millions of pounds worth of cuts – including to civil service staffing levels.

However, its plans have come under attack from lobby group the Forum of Private Business, which is itself an avid supporter of efficient government and red tape cuts.

The group welcomed plans to strip some quangos and pass the money on in the form of a tax cut, but warned that proposed action earmarked the wrong organisations.

Nick Goulding, FPB chief executive, said: ”The Conservatives have cobbled together this package specifically to reach an eye-catching headline figure,” said FPB chief executive Nick Goulding.

“Some of the bodies, such as the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), fulfil a valuable function. Transferring its functions to OFSTED, which is concerned with the education of children, would be ill advised. There is a shortage of suitably trained adults who are literate, numerate and IT competent. For a relatively small investment, the ALI does a worthwhile job.”

The Federation of Small Businesses also attacked the Conservative party for its plans to dissolve the Small Business Service, part of the Department of Trade and Industry.

“On the face of it, this looks like a lack of commitment to small businesses,” the Financial Times newspaper reported FSB parliamentary spokesperson Stephen Alambritis as saying.

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