Junior DEFRA minister Lord Rooker has admitted that DEFRA’s budget problems will impact on its animal wefare work.
It has emerged that during an evidence session with the environment, food and rural affairs committee last Monday (3 March), the minister openly admitted that there would be a “reordering of priorities and abandonment of some work streams.”
Lord Rooker called in to talk about proposed changes to the Veterinary Surgeons but uncorrected evidence on the EFRA website reveals that during the session he acknowledged that DEFRA had serious financial issues.
Animal Welfare act
Asked by MP Paddy Tipping whether DEFRA would be pushing on with the secondary legislation attached to the Animal Welfare act, Lord Rooker replied:
“There are issues which will proceed with. The resources of the animal welfare team in DEFRA by this time next year will be a third less, it is simple as that, the number of bodies will be a third less.
“Obviously one looks for productivity gains and things like that, but nevertheless, with a third less you cannot carry on the existing programme.
“Some issues will continue because they are underway now and some of them will conclude, and therefore, resources will be freed up.
“We have got an A list, B list and a C list, which will be abandoned, although some of them we may say that we have abandoned for this Comprehensive Spending Review only.
“We have some which are high profile on which decisions have to be made. I am reluctant, in a way, to share everything with you because the penny will not have dropped, although it will do.”
Lord Rooker said the departmental resources available to ministers and others “do not stretch” to getting together to draft a White Paper on the Veterinary Surgeons Act.