£270M To EA Is For Repairs So Most Of 1,700 Job Cuts Will Go Ahead Leaving It Weakened And Ill-Equipped To Respond To Future Flooding Or Drought
Yesterday’s statement from Environment Agency does not provide details or assurances about crucial functions like the residential Thames lock and weir keepers says GMB.
GMB, the union for staff at the Environment Agency (EA), responded to the announcement yesterday (20th March) that £140m in budget for EA is additional to the £130m previously announced by the Government in early February but there would still be job losses because of reduced funding overall. See notes to editors for Message to all staff 20 March 2014 from Lord Chris Smith Chairman and Paul Leinster Chief Executive.
Justin Bowden, GMB national officer for the Environment Agency said, "This extra £140m on top of the earlier £130m is little more than the money needed just to put right the damage to the country's vital flood defences since January and restore them to the state they were in before the recent floods.
The additional funds for repairs will not stop most of the 1,700 government driven job cuts that will leave the Agency weakened and ill-equipped to respond to future flooding or drought. Yesterday’s statement does not provide details or assurances about crucial functions like the Residential Thames Lock Keepers.
The Prime Minister should learn from this winter of flooding and damage, reverse the decision to cut the EA's budget by 10% and commission an Independent Review to establish the levels of capital and revenue funding necessary to provide and maintain the country's flood and coastal defences and other Environment Agency functions."
Contact Justin Bowden 07710 631351 or Frank Minal 07713 079930 or GMB press office 07921 289880
Notes to editors
Statement by EA
Message to all staff 20 March 2014
In yesterday’s Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £140m Flood and Coastal Risk Management funding over the next two years. This is in addition to the £130m previously announced by the Government in early February and includes some revenue money as well as capital. It will fund repairs to flood defences damaged by the exceptional winter weather since early January, identified by the asset inspections carried out over recent weeks. This is good news for communities at risk of flooding, and means that we can protect jobs in our flood risk management delivery teams.
Over the same period, an additional £5m will be available for environmental crime and enforcement work. This will enable the Environment Agency to undertake additional enforcement initiatives to tackle waste crime, including the deliberate mis-description of waste.
We will still need to move to affordable staffing levels in areas other than flood risk management delivery, in line with reduced funding overall. We are urgently working through the detail of this, and will be providing further information as soon as we are able.
Lord Chris Smith Chairman and Paul Leinster Chief Executive