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Defra struggles to clarify spending strategy

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been told by MPs that it must urgently publish its strategy for achieving budget cuts of 15 per cent over the next four years.

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published its Defra Performance in 2014-15 report on 15 December. In the report the committee says that it is not clear how Defra’s priorities will be affected by "continual reductions" in the department’s budget.

The 2015 spending review, delivered on 25 November, set out day-to-day budget cuts of 15 per cent for the department over the course of this parliament. An analysis by Martin Harper, the conservation director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, found that Defra and its agencies had already taken a 34 per cent cut in resource budgets since 2009-10.

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