Government departments including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have today (July 21) been asked to prepare for spending cuts of up to 40% over the next four years as the government looks to slash spending in Whitehall by £20 billion.
In a move which is feared could hit Defra’s work on waste, the Chancellor has launched a Spending Review calling for all departments which do not have protected budgets to model savings of 25% and 40% a year within their resource budgets by 2019/20.
Chancellor George Osborne claims that cuts can be made while maintaing services people rely on
The move also affects other departments with environmental remits including the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The announcement could hit Defra particularly hard, as the Department has faced some of the deepest departmental cuts since 2010 and already scaled back its work in the waste arena and lost staff. Some in the sector have suggested that an obvious target for further cuts may be the Defra-funded resource efficiency body WRAP, which has already seen its budget slashed from £37.7 million in 2011 to £17.9 million in 2014.
Another potential victim could be the Environment Agency, which is responsible for waste regulation and, importantly, in cracking down on waste crime.