Press release

Comprehensive spending review: Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

Defra will focus tax payer's money on British farming and food production; enhancing the environment and biodiversity; and supporting a green economy resilient to climate change.

Over the course of the Spending Review period, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will reduce resource spending by 29% and capital spending by 34%. The Department’s Administration budget will be reduced by 33%.

Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL)

£ billion

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Resource DEL 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.0 1.8

Capital DEL 0.6 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4

TOTAL DEL 2.9 2.6 2.5 2.3 2.2

In this table Resource DEL excludes depreciation

Defra will reprioritise its spending, focusing tax payer’s money on British farming and food production; enhancing the environment and biodiversity; and supporting a green economy resilient to climate change.

The Department will manage its reductions by:

Maximising the use of matched European funding for the Rural Development Programme for England, enabling a £66m reduction in domestic contributions. This will allow environmental stewardship schemes to remain open to all farmers. Defra will prioritise schemes that will be most beneficial to the environment, increasing the  Higher Level Stewardship Scheme by 80%.

  • An expected 15% efficiency saving will be made in the procurement strategy for flood and coastal defences. Savings achieved from this will be reinvested into safeguarding and enhancing protection for people and properties. It is estimated that by March 2015, better levels of protection can be expected for 145,000 households in England.
  • Making more efficient use of resources for animal welfare and disease prevention and control, by taking forward proposals to involve the industry in sharing the responsibility and cost of disease control.
  • Abolishing British Waterways as a public corporation in England and Wales; a new waterways charity will be created.
  • Funding will be stopped for 7 waste PFI projects, saving £3 million by 2014-15 and more in the longer term.

Reducing waste and bureaucracy:

  • Reducing the number of quangos Defra funds from 92 to 39.
  • Reducing red tape and unnecessary burdens on farmers and food producers, without compromising standards. The task force on Farming Regulation will report by early 2011.

Making efficiencies

  • Reducing administration costs by £174m through reductions in staff numbers, more efficient IT and procurement practices; increased use of shared services across Government; reducing the size and cost of Defra’s corporate estate.

In addition to the above, the Department will be adopting the following idea, suggested through the Spending Challenge process:

  • Reforming the Environment Agency’s staff lease car scheme - saving up to £3m per year.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“Our strategic aim is to deliver on the Prime Minister’s pledge that the Coalition will be the greenest Government ever, whilst playing our part in tackling the economic deficit that we have inherited.

“This settlement reflects the need to make significant savings alongside meeting the priorities we have set and maintaining important frontline services in respect of flood defences, environmental protection and animal health monitoring.”

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