By politics.co.uk staff
Leaked plans to cull the number of publicly-funded bodies have triggered an investigation from the Cabinet Office - which has not denied the reports.
Details of a list of 177 quangos set for the coalition government's much-vaunted bonfire have been revealed by the Telegraph newspaper.
They show an additional 129 will be merged and four will be privatised, while a further 94 remain under threat of scrapping.
That leaves just 350 which have been definitely saved from the spending cuts to come.
"The Cabinet secretary has this morning asked for an immediate investigation into the leak of a government document on public bodies reform," a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.
"We deeply regret any extra uncertainty for employees that this irresponsible leak has caused."
Among the bodies thought to be under threat of outright abolition are the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Health Protection Agency and the Commission for Rural Communities.
Final decisions have not yet been taken on quangos including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Environment Agency and the Office for Fair Trading.