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Farron concerned by Minister's comments on DEFRA cuts

March 20, 2008 10:56 AM

Liberal Democrat MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming Tim Farron is today writing to Farming Minister Lord Rooker, in order to ask him to explain his uncorrected comments given to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee meeting on 3rd March. The minister admitted that there would have to be a "reordering of priorities and abandonment of some work streams," noted that the animal welfare arm of DEFRA would lose a third of its resources and, perhaps most damningly, that DEFRA had "no resources to do anything" with regards to the Veterinary Surgeons Act, which the department had claimed in the past was "in urgent need of updating."

Speaking afterwards, Tim Farron MP said:

"Whilst it is refreshing to see a minister being so candid, I have been left highly concerned by Lord Rooker's comments. The Minister for Sustainable Food, Farming and Animal Health admits that the DEFRA cuts are getting in the way of highly needed reforms. This is very worrying."

"If DEFRA has to change its priorities due to financial problems, it raises the question of what they are doing with tax payer's money! To this end I have felt compelled to write to Lord Rooker asking him to clarify his comments, and asking exactly which 'work streams' would be abandoned and why DEFRA is having financial difficulties."