Key areas of research and expertise affecting public health and the environment are at risk due to the huge funding cuts facing DEFRA agencies and laboratories, a report published yesterday (Tuesday 5th Sept 06) indicates.

Trade union Prospect, which represents 3,400 scientists and specialists in DEFRA –including bodies such as the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and Pesticides Safety Directive – is calling for secured government funding to safe guard the future of British science.

Following the announcement of a £200m to £300m cut in the DEFRA budget financial pressure is now being applied to research bodies within the DEFRA family.

The cuts in the DEFRA budget are attributed to an overspend on IT within the Rural Payments Agency and the financial stress generated by the avian flu outbreak earlier this year.