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Rural Development Programme

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by Natural England on administering the Regional Development Programme for England (RDPE) on behalf of his Department in the last 12 months; and whether any of the costs within Natural England’s Annual report are attributable to the RDPE. (306018)

Natural England was allocated £13,600,000 in 2008-09 to cover its direct costs associated with delivering the Rural Development Programme for England under the common agricultural policy. In addition to this, £22,400,000 was allocated to Natural England to cover the costs of DEFRA’s Genesis IT system which is the IT system to manage and administer the Rural Development Programme for England. This running cost includes depreciation, cost of capital and third party support.

These costs are all given in Natural England’s annual report.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much matched funding and other Treasury funding has been committed to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE); and what the (a) consequences to date and (b) estimated consequences are of the change in the exchange rate of the euro to sterling on (i) amount of sterling to be funded from UK sources and (ii) the total amounts available for each Axis 1, 2 and 3 of the RDPE. (306019)

The total planned budget for the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13, as announced on 29 March 2007, is £3.9 billion.

A higher than planned euro value has contributed to an underspend of the European budget allocated to the programme to date. Under EU regulations, unspent European budget may be rolled forward to be spent in later years and therefore remains as part of the total programme budget. For the remainder of the programme we plan to take advantage of the higher sterling value of the EU budget to contribute to savings in the Exchequer funded element. This will contribute to achieving the saving of £92 million in 2012-13 announced in the pre-Budget report1 to be delivered from efficiencies in Environmental Protection and RDPE. This saving can be achieved within the total of £3.9 billion planned for the programme.

1 http://prebudget.treasury.gov.uk/about_pbr.htm

(paragraph 6.45)