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Funding the Royal Botanic Gardens evidence hearing

11 November 2014

The Science and Technology committee is to hold a one-off evidence session addressing announcements made by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew regarding its handling of a £5m "budget gap".

Although Nick Clegg announced on 3 September 2014 that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will maintain current funding until the end of the 2015 financial year, funding beyond this is unclear.

The ability of Kew to maintain its reputation as an institution at the forefront of botany has been called into question by GMB regional officer Paul Grafton, who said Kew "faced a significant threat to its future" as many of the 125 projected job losses would be in the science directorate.

Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said:

"Kew Gardens is a World Heritage Site and a world-renowned centre for botanical research and like many government-sponsored bodies is being asked to justify its funding and to look for possible cuts. 

We intend to look at the evidence behind Defra’s budget cuts, Kew’s response to that and the potential impact of both on Kew Gardens’ future as a research and education facility."

Topics being covered 

The Committee will consider during its evidence session topics such as:

  • What makes Kew a pioneering institution in its field?
  • Is the government failing in its duty to adequately resource a National Heritage site? 
  • What is Kew Gardens doing to increase its commercial success and keep operational costs low?
  • Was the reduction in funding from Defra, evidence based and focussed on Kew’s world class research status?

Although the committee is not formally requesting written submissions, it is happy to receive correspondence via email on the matter from interested parties.