Monday, 08 June 2015 07:49

Defra told to make £83m in savings

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Defra told to make £83m in savings

DEFRA has been told to make £83 million of "efficiency savings" under government plans to slash public spending by £3 billion.

Treasury chief secretary Greg Hands wrote to government departments on 20 May, asking them to identify savings and achieve underspends this year.

The government said Whitehall departments had found a further £3 billion savings this financial year – equivalent to around 3% of unprotected departmental spending this year.

Savings for 2015-16 will be achieved through further efficiency savings, tighter control of budgets to drive underspends in year, and driving through asset sales.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "Reducing the deficit – that is how you deliver lasting economic security for working people.

"For as everyone knows, when it comes to living within your means, the sooner you start the smoother the ride."

Rural leaders said the savings must not be allowed to have a negative impact on countryside communities and rural businesses.

The Country Land and Business Association said it would "work closely with officials" to help Defra achieve its goals.

CLA President Henry Robinson said: "Defra is an important department that does crucial work to create a regulatory framework that is a vital factor in how rural businesses make decisions.

"It also provides an essential administrative role in administering support payments.

Mr Robinson said priority work included administering basic payments, tackling animal and plant disease and ensuring regulatory enforcement was efficient and targeted.

Increased receipts from sales of public sector land will help generate £230m in savings from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

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