WRAP plays down axing of its budget by 40%

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Government

Liz Goodwin claimed the spending review settlement – which axed WRAP's budget by 40% – was a 'huge vote of confidence' in the organisation
Liz Goodwin claimed the spending review settlement – which axed WRAP's budget by 40% – was a 'huge vote of confidence' in the organisation
The boss of the government-funded Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has played down plans to axe its budget by 40%, unveiled as part of the government’s latest spending review.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP, today (June 27) acknowledged that the funding cut was “clearly significant”​ but claimed it was “neither unexpected nor surprising”,​ given the government’s commitment to reducing the budget deficit.

“It is important to remember that DEFRA​ [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] is only one of WRAP’s funders, currently providing less than half of our income. We will be fully able to continue to deliver our highly-regarded work for the Scottish and Welsh governments and other funders.

DEFRA funding for WRAP is to be chopped to 60% of its current level of £25.7M over the next 18 months as part of the department’s response to the spending review settlement. WRAP funding for 2015/16 is expected to be £15.5M.

‘Huge vote of confidence’

But Goodwin insisted her organisation retained the confidence of the government department and other funding providers. “Despite the inevitable cut, we view the settlement as a huge vote of confidence in the work WRAP does. WRAP remains in very good shape and we are confident about the future,” ​she said.

Goodwin claimed DEFRA and other partners valued her organisation’s ability to deliver two of the department’s core objectives – boosting the economy and improving the environment – and to turn insight into practical action. 

The cuts would force WRAP to refocus on fewer priorities and halt “lower impact work”. ​But she pledged that tackling food waste would “remain at the heart of WRAP’s work for all funders”​.

Goodwin added: “We will continue to work to secure other sources of income to further diversify our funding base. We are pursuing a number of opportunities and I am very confident of success.”

Science spending

Meanwhile, science spending will remain flat – at about £4.6bn per year – during the review period.

But capital expenditure – the money spent on laboratory infrastructure – will nearly double from its current level of £0.6bn.

“Investment in science is an investment in our future,”​ Chancellor George Osborne told MPs in Parliament. “So, yes, from the next generation of jet engines to cutting-edge supercomputers, we say, ‘keep inventing, keep delivering’. This country will back you all the way.”

Spending reviews were introduced by former chancellor Gordon Brown. They aim to set out the maximum amount government departments can spend over a set period of time. The government’s 17 individual departments are left to decide how to make any savings that are required.

The latest spending review – covering the financial year 2015/16 – was far shorter than previous reviews, which typically cover up to four years.

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