‘The mother of all false economies’: Why the spending review spells trouble for Natural England

Chancellor Sajid Javid proclaimed the “end of austerity” as he presented his public spending plans for the 2020/21 financial year, handing an extra £432m to DEFRA to deliver a “safe and ambitious departure from the EU” while setting “world-leading environmental standards”.

The extra cash for day-to-day spending represents a 3.3% increase in DEFRA’s budget from 2019/20 to 2020/21, but given the department has seen repeated cuts reducing its spending by more than a third (36%) since 2006/07 when it spent more than £3bn, to 2018/19 when it spent less than £2bn, the new money does not make much of a dent in the deficit. 

Spending reviews typically set out what government departments can spend over a three or four year period, but in a break with that tradition, Javid set out the spending for one year only.

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