Brexit & EconomyPoliticsMPs accuse DEFRA of ‘serious failure in financial management’

MPs accuse DEFRA of 'serious failure in financial management'

The Commons DEFRA Committee says senor civil servants at Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs caused a £200m deficit in accounts

MPs have blamed ‘a serious failure in financial management’ for a £200m
deficit in the accounts of the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural
Affairs (DEFRA).

The accounting issues forced it to impose substantial budgetary cuts on a
series of agencies ranging from the National Forest Company to Food From
Britain, who were required to cut 8% from their planned expenditure in the
middle of the year.

Senor civil servants at the highest level were accused of being
‘irresponsibly over-optimistic’ about the supposed ‘generosity’ of the Treasury
and their ability to use its full End Year Flexibility and to switch resources
from non-cash to near-cash expenditure.

The Commons DEFRA Committee took evidence from permanent secretary Helen Gosh
and other of bureaucrats, and said this ‘complacency’ had severe un-planed-for
consequences for which it blamed their ‘self deception’.

The committee said only a small part of the deficit was due to un-planned-for
Avian Flu spending and the failure of its computerised single farm payment
scheme.

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