As George Osborne laces up his size-12s for Tuesday’s emergency budget, the more than 50 quangos influencing, subsidising, supporting and even regulating grocery are braced for a crushing. Nick Hughes weighs up the chances of survival for 10 key quangos in food and drink

Food Standards Agency
How much? The FSA and the Meat Hygiene Service merged in April received £137m in 2009/10 from the Treasury.

Do we need it? While it has won praise for its food safety role, the FSA has attracted controversy when tackling nutrition and been described by the Tories as a disruptive influence within government.

Outlook: The Tories' pre-election pledge to cut the FSA's remit to cover just food safety could well result in its budget being slashed. One source says moves are already being made for the transfer of roles to the Department of Health. Its comms budget is also a juicy target. 

Sustainable Development Commission
How much? Defra, the Department of Health and WWF-UK fed the SDC £3.7m in 2009/10. £2.89m came from Defra.

Do we need it? In a word, no. All the SDC's functions could easily be merged with other departments.

Outlook: The SDC advises decision-makers on sustainable development issues in everything from the built environment to natural resources. Among its food-related projects is the development of a Roadmap for a sustainable diet. Commentators suggest the body could easily be folded into Defra or the DECC, or even the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition
How much? The most recent annual report for 2008 shows its cost, excluding Secretariat resources, as £110,492.78. Funding comes from the DH and FSA.

Do we need it? The need for independent advice will, of course, remain, but the committee's current structure is in doubt.

Outlook: Effectively a quango within a quango, the SACN's outlook looks bleak in light of the plans to cut the FSA's nutrition responsibilities. The committee is made up of independent experts that provide advice to the FSA and DH, among other agencies and departments. Its days under the FSA's wing appear to be numbered. 

School Food Trust
How much? The SFT's funding from the Department of Education is now £7.65m.

Do we need it? With the problem of childhood obesity still looming large, most agree there is still a place for the SFT.

Outlook: The SFT has already had a run-in with Osborne, who cut £1m off the body's comms budget for 2010 in the Spending Review Framework. Set up in 2005 to turn kids on to healthier food, the body's aim is to improve the quality of food in schools. Experts suggest the trust has so far only done half its job. It's revised the nutritional standards that school meals should meet; now it has to help schools meet them.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence
How much? Mostly funded by the DH, although some comes from the Welsh Assembly Government and other sources. In 2009 it received £33m.

Do we need it? Its members are well respected but NICE's work overlaps with many government departments, making it vulnerable to cuts.

Outlook: The future of this independent body, responsible for giving guidance on the promotion of good health, and an outspoken advocate of the imposition of a minimum alcohol price looks doubtful in its current form as Osborne scours public spending for potential savings.

Environment Agency
How much? The Environment Agency trousered some £1.2bn in 2008/09, 65% of which came from the UK and Welsh Assembly governments. The rest came from various charging schemes.

Do we need it? Fulfilling both a standards-setting and enforcement role, the Environment Agency clearly has a role to play.

Outlook: With a 12,000-strong workforce and a wide remit, the EA is the mother of quangos. Reporting directly to Defra, the body is responsible for a wealth of issues, including many facing the farming industry. But with a £1bn-plus budget, further cuts are undoubtedly on the cards. 

Carbon Trust
How much? For 2009/10 the Carbon Trust received £103m, mostly from the DECC. The Trust has two commercial subsidiaries.

Do we need it? Yes, if Gordon Brown's pledge last year to cut UK carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 is to be realised.

Outlook: Of course, the Trust will not be immune from the fall-out from the Public Bodies Bill, but the need for the functions it fulfils remain. The Trust gives advice to businesses and public bodies on how to cut emissions, save energy and adopt low-carbon technologies. It has won some powerful friends, having advised giants such as Asda, Coca-Cola and Alliance Boots. 

Technology Strategy Board
How much? Predominantly propped up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the TSB currently pockets about £200m a year.

Do we need it? Established in 2004 to guide the government's technology strategy, the board has a vague remit and could easily be brought into government.

Outlook: If ever there were an obvious target for Treasury cost-cutters, this is it. The TSB says much of its work is in spreading knowledge, understanding policy, spotting opportunities and bringing people together to solve problems or make new advances woolly, to say the least.

Rural Payments Agency
How much? Provided by Defra, its 2009/10 staffing budget stood at £99.3m. Bungled payments last year left taxpayers with a bill of £622m in extra administrative costs.

Do we need it? If quangos were judged on the results they deliver, the RPA would be first for the chop. As chaos reigned in the English Single Payment Scheme last year, staff reaped £1.8m in performance-related bonuses. 

Outlook: Established in 2005, the RPA has courted criticism in its short life for failing to hit deadlines and making errors in payments. An executive agency of Defra, the RPA is an obvious target. 

Gangmasters' Licensing Authority
How much? Defra is the body's primary source of funding. Its income for 2008/09 was £3.6m.

Do we need it? Yes, if the rights of workers are to be protected.

Outlook: Set up in 2005 as a safeguard against the exploitation of workers in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish-gathering and food processing and packaging, the GLA uncovered more than £2m in unpaid taxes in its first year. With much of the funding for GLA's enforcement coming through its licensing income, there are more likely targets for a flattening in Tuesday's emergency budget.

The list goes on... Other quangos

1. Meat & Livestock Commission
2. British Potato Council
3. Home Grown Cereals Authority
4. Seafish
5. Marine & Fisheries Agency
6. Horticulture Development Council
7. Advisory Committee on Animal Feedstuffs
8. Dairy Produce Quota Tribunal
9. Farm Animal Welfare Council
10. Animal Health and Welfare Strategy England Implementation Group
11. Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees
12. Agricultural Land Tribunals
13. Agricultural Wages Boards and Committees.
14. Hill Farming Advisory Committee
15. Committee on Agricultural Valuation
16. Independent Agricultural Appeals Panel
17. Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB

Food standards, safety, R&D; advisory committees on:
1. Novel Foods and Processes
2. Animal Feedstuffs
3. Organic Standards
4. Pesticides
5. Research
6. Microbiological Safety of Food
7. Herbal Medicines
8. Microbiological Safety of Food
9-11. Committees on Carcinogenicity/Mutagenicity/Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
12. Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals
13. Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal

1. Alcohol Education and Research Council
2. Wine Standards Board
3. The Government Hospitality Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine

1. Wrap
2. Natural England
3. Advisory Committee on Packaging

1. Regional Development Agencies
2. Committee of Investigation for Great Britain
3. Commons Commissioners
4. Consumers' Committee for Great Britain under the Agriculture Marketing Act 1958