‘Is Defra coping with budget cuts?’ asks CLA
Responding to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee’s annual review of Defra, the CLA said today (8 January) budget cuts “could leave Defra over-stretched”.
The organisation agreed with Efra that Defra will be challenged by implementing a new IT system at the same time as the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
CLA Director South East said: “Defra has suffered one of the largest percentage budget cuts of any government department. Nearly all Government departments have faced budget cuts and we appreciate that Defra should be no exception.
“However, it is vital these savings do not adversely impact on the Environment Agency’s ability to respond to emergencies such as flooding, particularly as weather conditions are set to become more frequent.
“On flooding, when the Agency cannot maintain defences, it must be made easier for landowners to do so. The regulatory burden needs to be eased.”
He said the CLA agreed with Mr Paterson’s priority to grow the rural economy but said he needs to be clearer about what substantial budget cuts will mean for delivering policy.
Mr Edwards said: “We need clarity over how this will be achieved in the light of huge cuts. Admin and efficiency savings alone will not achieve the entire level of savings required.”
The CLA backed Mr Paterson’s proposal for a biodiversity offsetting system but said there is much detail to be worked out on how such a system would operate in practice.
Mr Edwards said: “A new system needs to be supported by landowners, as the providers of offsets, and developers. We want to work with Defra to make a national offsetting system a practical reality.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
The CLA has approximately 34,000 members.
- CLA South East covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, East & West Sussex
- As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.
- We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership, land management and rural business activities for the past 100 years. CLA members own or manage approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.
For news and more information on our events, campaigns, lobbying and advice see the regional pages on our website https://www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east
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