It is, however, notoriously difficult to slim down the size of the state thanks to the vested interests who depend upon it. Governments are also incredibly inefficient even when it comes to closing things down. Almost unbelievably, the cost of the bonfire will be £830 million—nearly twice the original estimate—and the government could not resist setting up some new quangos in the process.
On Monday 1 April, Public Health England will begin its work of dealing with all the outbreaks of cholera and scarlet fever which blight the country on a daily basis. I jest, of course. You could count the number of genuine public health issues in the UK on one hand. Instead, this bloated organ of the state will be focusing on private health issues and hassling people about their bad habits. Presumably the government thinks that there is a gap in the market for another taxpayer-funded gaggle of fussbuckets to join the chorus of the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians, Action on Smoking and Health, Alcohol Concern, Consensus Action on Smoking and Health, the Alcohol Health Alliance, the National Obesity Forum, The Lancet, the Smokefree Coalition, DrinkWise North West, SmokeFree North-East, the UK Faculty for Public Health, the Royal College of General Practitioners etc. etc. etc.
The budget for Public Health England is a little under half a billion pounds a year and its management structure has all the hallmarks of a money pit for pencil-pushers, ball-jugglers and frustrated politicians who think they're too important to do a real job.
Although this quango is not yet fully operational, it has already started issuing proclamations and demanding legislation. What do you think the first topic addressed by this 'public health' group was?
Of course not...
New public health agency backs calls for minimum price on alcohol
The new national agency in charge of public health in England has backed proposals to establish a minimum price on a unit of alcohol to try to curb the harmful effects of drinking.
This, I suspect, is the tip of very large iceberg.