Officials were first warned about ash dieback by Scandinavian scientists at a conference in 2007 – two years earlier than previously thought – but the budget available for studying tree diseases was cut by more than half in real terms in the years leading up to 2010, it was reported.

It also showed that David Miliband presided over a 20% cut in biosecurity funding on 2007 alone. Between 2004 and 2010 the “monitoring and biosecurity” budget fell by almost 60% in real terms.