asked Her Majesty's Government:
Which statutory agencies have postponed or reduced grant aid to rural areas during the current financial year as a result of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' cuts and the creation of Natural England; and how those farmers and others affected will be compensated.[HL7494]
Funding to rural areas is provided through a wide range of government funded schemes and services. The main schemes are the single farm payment scheme, administered by the Rural Payments Agency, and the England Rural Development Programme. Neither of these allocations was changed as part of the recent budget reallocation exercise.
Like all large organisations, Defra faces new financial pressures each year that require us to constantly review and adjust our spending plans. We conducted a rigorous review of financial allocations during the summer of 2006 which included detailed discussions with our agencies and other external bodies to agree where spending might best be reduced. This review was comprehensive in nature and has ensured that Defra's funding for the current year is placed where it can have the greatest impact. That review was conducted so as to avoid undue impact on the schemes and programmes Defra operates.