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Defra spends £50m on redundancy payouts

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its arm’s-length bodies have spent more than £50 million on voluntary redundancy payments and compensation since May 2010, a statement in the House of Commons has revealed.

In response to a written question from Conservative MP John Redwood, Defra minister Conservative Richard Benyon said the department, including its executive agencies—such as the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science—spent £28.7m on voluntary redundancy pay.

The Environment Agency, an arm’s-length body for the department, spent a further £24.5m on voluntary redundancy pay and £3m on compulsory redundancy pay, the minister revealed.

Natural England, an advisory body on the natural environment, also spent £10.9m, while the Sustainable Development Commission—which was closed down entirely—spent £119,696 on voluntary redundancy and £356,442 on compulsory redundancy payments.

Defra and its arm’s-length bodies pledged to cut £162m from their budget in 2010-11 through methods including reducing the number of non-permanent staff.

In October last year, a review of all quangos led to the closure of more than 30 Defra bodies and reform for bodies including the Environment Agency.