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SCORES of unelected placemen controlling billions of pounds of public money could soon be axed.

Radical plans drafted by Finance Minister Jack McConnell will make it easier for ordinary people to replace them on quangos.

He is determined to end the "jobs for the boys" culture and give more ordinary Scots the chance to serve their communities.

Scottish TUC chief Bill Spiers and CBI Scotland director Iain Macmillan are drawing up a deal to encourage firms to release staff to take up the key posts.

McConnell said: "Our public bodies spend billions of pounds on behalf of the Scottish people.

"I'm determined to see changes that make them more representative of the people they serve."

There are 95 Scots quangos, running health care, enterprise, water, sport and the arts and culture.

They control around pounds 6.5billion - more than a third of Scotland's total budget. But their membership is dominated by middle-aged men from the middle and upper classes.

Now Labour has pledged to give all Scots with the relevant skills a chance to run these major bodies.

It will mean more women, people with disabilities, people from ethnic minorities and younger members being brought in.

McConnell has set up a pounds 25million fund for modernising government, part of which will be used to promote the quango overhaul.

An advertising campaign will be launched and McConnell wants a page on the Executive website where people can see and apply for quango vacancies.

The Executive has already announced plans to abolish the board of Scottish Homes and slash the number of NHS trust chairmen.
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 18, 2000
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