The Liberal Democrats in Government will today announce a further £2.3 million of resource funding to support the important botanical research and plant science institution, The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.
The announcement by Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP, comes on top of the £1.5 initial funding he announced in September for 2014/2015, reversing previously published plans by DEFRA officials for large cuts. This extra £2.3 million means Government funding is now maintained until April 2016.
Robin Meltzer, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Richmond Park and North Kingston said:
"Working with the Climate Change Secretary, Kingston's Ed Davey MP, I have been making the case for proper Government funding for Kew Gardens since the funding gap emerged and I am delighted by today's additional £2.3 million."
"This is not the end of the issue, and protection for Kew will not come off the agenda, but it is a significant moment. It removes the 'cliff edge' that Kew had been facing, just as it was beginning to expand its own revenue-generating operations as part of its strategic vision. Today's announcement also gives Kew the freedoms and flexibility it requires to be able apply for preferential Government loans for projects designed to maximise their income so that they can do the sort of long-term planning which will safeguard their vital work.
"We are very fortunate to have Kew Gardens, a World Heritage Site renowned globally as a botanical research and education facility, in this constituency. I am there several times a month and I am committed to continuing to campaign for its protection and support. It is a vital scientific base, employing over 700 people, with multiple research projects and partnerships across the globe. On a recent visit to meet some of the scientists at Kew, I learned about the pioneering work they are doing with some of the world's poorest farmers, to ensure their crops can survive the impacts of a warming planet.
"The Gardens themselves cover 326 acres and attract over 1.3 million visitors every year into our area. Together with its West Sussex site, Wakehurst, it is home to over 19,000 species of living plants. Kew also holds the world’s largest collection of fungal specimens (over 1.25 million), and its Millennium Seed Bank protects over 4,000 species from extinction every year."