Cameron to restrict Ofcom’s powers if elected

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, will today (July 6) signal his intention to scrap Ofcom’s policymaking powers if his party is elected into Government next year.

David Cameron
David Cameron

In a precursor to a speech he is due to make at the Reform think tank today, he told the BBC this morning that too many quangos had become “lobbying organisations” and were making policy, rather than “just delivering policy”.

He says he will slim down the remit and taxpayer-funded activities of the media regulator, Ofcom, among other things eliminating its communications department.

He says a Tory Government would focus on giving Ofcom the technical function of handing out “the licences and regulating lightly the content that is on the screens”.

Cameron says it would also look to scale back on the power of other public bodies, including scrapping altogether the schools’ Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.

He told the BBC: “In too many cases these organisations have got bigger and bigger. They spend about £64bn a year, 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.”

Ofcom’s current chief executive is Ed Richards. A spokesman for the regulator says: “As Ofcom is itself a product of regulatory rationalisation – merging five regulators into one in 2004 – we are surprised at being highlighted in the speech.

“Since its establishment, Ofcom has delivered five consecutive years of real terms budget reductions, reduced headcount by more than 300 people and saved more than £117m in the process – a 21% reduction.”

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