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Key points from the Chancellor's Comprehensive Spending Review

25th Nov 2020 / By Charlie Dewhirst

NPA senior policy adviser Charlie Dewhirst sets out some of the key points for the farming industry from Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) today. 


  • Rishi SunakThe economy is expected to shrink by 11.3% this year – the largest contraction for more than 300 years. It will then bounce back with growth of 5.5% in 2021-22 and 6.6% the following year.
  • Unemployment is projected to rise from the current 1.62 million (4.4%) to 2.6 (7.5%) million people by the middle of 2021. It should then decline back to 4.4% over the following three years.
  • The government will borrow £394 billion this year. This will fall to £164bn in 2021-22 and £105bn the year after.


  • Defra’s capital budget will increase by £0.6 billion in cash terms next year, taking the total to £5.8 billion.


  • Defra’s settlement will ensure total farm support in England of £2.4 billion in 2021-22 to meet the government’s commitment to maintain the current annual budget to farmers in every year of this Parliament.
  • The government will also take advantage of new freedoms to commence a transition towards a system in England that delivers far greater environmental and productivity benefits.


  • Support to implement the flagship Environment Bill measures including biodiversity net gain for development, the setting of legally-binding environmental targets, and the Office for Environmental Protection.
  • Support for increasing recycling and reducing waste, allowing Defra to progress with extended producer responsibility for packaging waste, introduce a deposit return scheme, and implement consistent collection of waste – including food waste – in every local authority in England by the end of this Parliament.
  • This settlement provides an uplift in Defra’s science capability, including extending the pilot of the Natural Capital and Ecosystems Assessment.


  • Improve the environment through cleaner air and water, minimised waste, and thriving plants and terrestrial and marine wildlife.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage in the agricultural, waste, peat and tree planting sectors to help deliver net zero.
  • Reduce the likelihood and impact of flooding and coastal erosion on people, businesses, communities and the environment.