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Defra bonuses soar despite poor performance say Lib Dems

[Thursday 09 November 2006]
chris huhne
Chris Huhne slams defra bonuses

OFFICIALS in the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) received more than £7 million in bonuses in the last two years whilst farmers across the country, many of them right here in the Dales, grapple with debts resulting from the shambles that is the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and its failure to deliver farm payments on time.

The figures, revealed in parliamentary answers to the Liberal Democrats, show that the annual performance bonuses for Defra officials in this financial year soared by 27 per cent compared with last year to reach nearly £4.3 million.

The bonuses continue say the Lib Dems despite the failure of the English single farm payments scheme, a provision for £131 million of losses in the departmental accounts and a financial crisis in British farming.

Commenting on the news, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, Chris Huhne said: "Defra says it deserves more when it is doing well, and even more when it is making a complete mess of things. Under exactly what circumstances will these performance bonuses ever decrease?

The fiasco over the single farm payments in England is the biggest bureaucratic bungle ever to afflict rural areas

Chris Huhne - Liberal Democrat environment spokesman

"The fiasco over the single farm payments in England is the biggest bureaucratic bungle ever to afflict rural areas. It is astonishing that David Miliband thinks this is the appropriate moment to write large cheques to his officials.

"The Government clearly has no idea how to motivate its staff, handing out money regardless of performance. However, given that Margaret Beckett was the minister responsible for choosing this unworkable system only to be promoted to mismanage Britain's foreign policy, perhaps we should not be surprised."

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