Honeybees to suffer from stingy cash cuts

The British honeybee population is under threat by Government cuts, according to an organisation that represents small agricultural businesses.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) says the bees make a huge contribution to the agriculture industry by spreading pollen, but the Government has a bee in its bonnet about cutting costs. In three years time the Government intends to reduce the amount of money spent on the Honeybee Health Programme by a quarter of million pounds to an annual overall cost of £1 million. This will mean the loss of half its 40 strong staff of bee inspectors.

However, beekeepers say the inspectors are frontline experts who play a vital role in helping them fight diseases, which could decimate the bee populations.

The FPB, which is backing a campaign to safeguard the bees, claims honey sales amount to only £12.5 million a year, but a Government survey showed that honeybees contribute at least £120m to the agricultural economy by spreading pollen.

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