The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) faces additional cuts of £83 million during the first year of the new Conservative government under plans announced last week by Chancellor George Osborne.
According to reports the Department will make savings by cutting ‘low priority’ programmes, but has not yet identified exactly where cuts will take effect. It fared better in the most recent round of spending cuts than the Departments of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which face cuts of £70m and £230m respectively. However, according to the Institute for Government, proportionally Defra has been the second hardest hit by measures across all government departments.
In March, chair of the EFRA Committee, which oversees the work of the environment department, said, “The Department is worryingly vulnerable. Defra has not identified which specific policies and programmes will be reduced in future years, despite of repeated requests for clarity. We… need to know what the impact of cuts will be on policy delivery [and]where emergency money, such as winter floods response funding, [will be]found.”