Government Gives Environment Minister 100 Million Reasons To Sell Forests
Oh the poetry and the rewards of the ‘planned sequential sales of the forestry estate’
Treasury gives Defra £100 million ‘bonus’
THE Treasury has awarded Defra a £100 million ‘bonus’ for agreeing to an early settlement on its spending cuts during the Comprehensive Spending Review, it emerged this week.
Caroline Spelman, the Defra Secretary, said the bonus was a ‘very important feature of our settlement’ when she agreed to cut £661 million from her £3 billion budget over the next four years.
Under the deal the Treasury will allow Defra to retain all proceeds from the sale of capital assets, such as national forestry and properties that form part of the departmental estate, up to the value of £100 million.
Mrs Spelman added: “It will be perfectly possible for us to use the proceeds from sales of our assets towards increasing capital spend on flood defences for example.”
Over the course of the next four years Defra anticipates recovering between £30 and 40 million through the rationalisation of the Defra estate, plus tens of millions from the ‘planned sequential sales of the forestry estate’ and ‘possibly’ some more from the Covent Garden Market Authority.
The Treasury has given Defra an added incentive to sell its assets ‘at the right time’ by allowing the department to keep 120 per cent of profits if the sales are higher than the £100 million originally budgeted for.
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