Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the Crop Protection Association said:
“We recognise the pressure on government to find savings and accept that reductions in public spending are inevitable. Whilst we still need to examine the detail, we are pleased that it appears Defra’s budget has not been cut as deeply as anticipated. However, we are concerned at any cuts which diminish government’s policy capacity across agriculture, and in particular on crop protection issues.
“Policy around plant science and the approval and use of pesticides is a complex and sometimes controversial area, and one where the UK government must ensure it is properly resourced. It is especially important that government continues to be able to promote UK farming at the European level and deploy its expertise on crop protection issues in Brussels.
“It is also vital that budgetary reductions do not impact on frontline programmes. In particular, where government funding contributes alongside private investment in supporting crucial environmental schemes such as the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, any reduction in public funds must be balanced carefully against the need to protect and enhance our environment.
“Elsewhere there are a number of research projects which have been joint funded by the government and industry and it would be counterproductive to abandon research where significant investment has already been made. Through the Agri-Tech Strategy the government has demonstrated its commitment to making the UK a world leader in agricultural technology and innovation; we want to see that work continue.”