THE DEPARTMENT for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs has agreed to cut its budget by 30% by 2020.
Given that the department has already had its resources cut to the bone, some observers are wondering whether it can survive another round of swingeing cuts.
In the 2010 spending review, the department was required to make a 16.7% reduction in non-capital expenditure from £2.4 billion in 2010/11 to £2 billion by 2014/15 (non-capital expenditure (resource expenditure) is money not spent on assets, such as salaries). Its budget for 2015/16 reduced this to £1.8 billion.
DEFRA is one of four departments with which the Chancellor, George Osborne, has agreed spending plans ahead of the review set to be published later this month.
The Department for Transport, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury have all agreed to cut on average 8% a year for four years.
Osborne said the savings will be achieved through a combination of further efficiencies and closing low value programmes. “These provisional settlements apply to the day to day resource spending of the central departments – they are not the capital budgets of these departments,” he noted in a speech at Imperial College.