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WRAP's funding from Defra slashed by £10m

Defra’s funding for WRAP will be slashed by more than £10m in the next year and a half, taking it from £25.7m to £15.5, for 2015/16.

This reduction to WRAP’s current budget is a response to the 10% cuts to Defra announced in the Spending Review, and is linked to Defra’s review of WRAP’s funding in May.

WRAP said it expects its 2014/15 budget from Defra to be around £18m.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP said: “Less money means rightly that we will need to focus on fewer priorities and stop doing some lower impact work. Tackling food waste will remain at the heart of WRAP’s work for all funders. We will be discussing the detail of our future work with Defra over the coming weeks.

“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.”

WRAP stressed that Defra is only one of WRAP’s funders, providing less than half its current income. Other funders include the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

“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,” added Goodwin, who has blogged on the topic today.

This continues the trend of WRAP’s funding from Defra being cut in recent years, as MRW has reported. Defra’s funding for WRAP fell from £56m in 2009/10 to £26m in 2013/14 as a result of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, in which Defra suffered a 30% budget cut.

Ray Georgeson, chief executive of the Resource Association, told MRW: “The further significant scaleback of Defra funding for WRAP will undoubtedly have negative consequences for the pace of change needed to deliver a resource efficient green economy. It is a disappointment, but no surprise. 

“We hope that WRAP and Defra will engage fully with stakeholders as they go through the process of reprioritising their activities - it is in everyone’s interests that this happens and we will do our best to support them in this process.”

Matthew Farrow, director of policy at trade body ESA, and Ricardo-AEA’s Adam Read tweeted:

Andrew Opie, British Retail Consortium’s director of food and sustainability, said: “The key thing going forward will be to concentrate resources on those areas that are going to make the biggest difference in reducing waste and improving sustainability. 

“They are continuing the progress with Courtauld which is delivering tangible, measured reductions in food and packaging waste and research that can take an overall view of the supply chain that wouldn’t happen otherwise.”

Phillip Ward, a former director at WRAP, told MRW: “Liz Goodwin is putting a brave face on a very significant reduction which comes on top of earlier significant cuts. The good news is that Defra clearly continues to see WRAP as an effective delivery organisation for them, it’s just that Defra is not a priority for the government and Resources/Green economy are not a priority for Defra.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “This reduction in funding reflects the budgetary pressures we are under in order to address the immediate need to tackle the deficit but also recognises that Government’s role should reduce as businesses increasingly realise the economic and commercial opportunities that arise from resource efficiencies and tackling environmental challenges.

“We have worked closely with WRAP in conducting our review in order to ensure that it remains a viable, expert organisation able to help us deliver our priority of boosting growth and improving the environment.”

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