Two perspectives on how the cuts will operate.
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Adam Vaughan The environment department has already suffered some of the steepest cuts across Whitehall, with a 30% cut in 2010 against the government average of 19%, followed by a further 10% in 2013, leaving observers wondering what’s left to axe. Under plans announced on Thursday, it’ll have to save an extra £83m in 2015-16, or nearly 4% of its £2.1bn budget.
The only named project for the axe is research on urban seagulls, costing £250,000 along with other similarly-designated “low-priority” work. Further savings are expected from efficiencies, a spokeswoman said.
Spending on flood defences, which was boosted following the damaging 2014 floods in England, is likely to be unofficially ring-fenced, said Dustin Benton of the thinktank Green Alliance. Other areas unlikely to be affected are money to support British farmers and funding to ensure the UK’s food security. Obvious candidates in the firing line among Defra’s 28 arms-length bodies include its waste programme, Wrap. The agency, which works to reduce food waste and plastic bag use, has already been gutted, with its budget reduced to £17.9m in 2014, down from £37.7m in 2011.
Department of Energy and Climate Change – Green Deal likely to be a major casualty
Terry Macalister Decc is to implement £70m worth of cuts, mainly from its energy savings schemes. It will slice £40m off its budget for projects, such as the Green Deal, which were designed to help reduce carbon emissions by decreasing use of power bills, something particularly important for lower income families.
A further £20m of savings will be wrestled from arms-length bodies, which include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Coal Authority. The NDA, which is tasked with cleaning up Britain’s military and civil atomic waste, last year spent around 65% of Decc’s total £3.4bn annual budget.
One of the NDA’s key contractors announced 1,600 job cuts last month amid speculation about a future slowdown in work. The remaining £10m of cuts is apparently meant to come from department underspend and efficiencies that arise as a result of lower than anticipated inflation.
The CIWM view – http://www.ciwm-journal.co.uk/archives/13862
Cuts of £83m at Defra, £70m at DECC and £230m at DCLG will be made throughout the year.