My MP, Caroline Lucas set out a very simple written question which was responded yesterday by a Minister from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Sadly the response which was made by Rebecca Pow was clearly ignoring the actual question. So what will happen next? Will Caroline ask the question again? The Management leader of DEFRA is Tamara Finkelstein so perhaps she can provide Rebecca and Caroline the answer to this very simple question. Here is the question and the current answer:
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the ring-fenced budget for the Office for Environmental Protection has been reduced from five to three years; when that decision was made; and for what reason that decision was not communicated to Parliament.
Rebecca Pow: The Government is committed to establishing the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) as soon as possible after Royal Assent with sufficient funding to fulfil its statutory advice, scrutiny, and enforcement functions. The intention, subject to finalising parliamentary passage, is to provide the OEP with a five year indicative budget, with a ringfenced budget for each spending review period. Defra has agreed this approach with HM Treasury to give the OEP the greatest possible certainty over its finances for the coming years. The OEP will then be required to report annually on whether it has sufficient funding to carry out its functions, and we will share this information with Parliament. Defra have discussed this approach with the OEP who welcome this commitment.
What will happen next?