Most Of £130m New Funds For Environment Agency To Be Spent On Capital Projects As Grants Cut By Over A Quarter Before New 10% Cuts And 1,700 Jobs Losses Says GMB
The root of the current flooding crisis are successive years of central government cuts that have trimmed maintenance budgets and staff levels to unsustainable levels says GMB.
GMB, the union for staff at the Environment Agency (EA), has learned that most of the £130m additional funding for the EA will be spent on capital projects and will save few, if any, of the1,700 jobs under threat due to 10% cuts in budget.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for members at EA, said “GMB has learned that EA managers have not been able to identify the impact of the £130m additional funding on the 1,700 proposed reductions in staff numbers.
Senior managers are working through the impact of these additional funds as well as dealing with the on- going flooding and see most of the extra funding being spent on capital projects. Of the revenue element much will be spent on non-manpower works. This is despite the fact that at the root of the current flooding crisis are successive years of central government cuts that have trimmed maintenance budgets and staff levels to unsustainable levels.
Facts are stubborn things. In 2009-10 total grants to the Environment Agency were £846.7m. For 2010-11 there were cut to £799.6m, for 2011-12 they were cut to £749.5m, in 2012-13 there were further cuts to £723m. There was a further cut of £14m for this year. This is a reduction of 16% and during this period inflation has increased by 11%. In real terms the grant has been cut by more than a quarter.
That is before the latest 10% hack at the budget for 2014- 15 announced by Osborne last summer.
Government must immediately reverse the ludicrous cut of 1,700 EA jobs, followed by an independent inquiry into what are the realistic funding levels necessary to ensure the EA has both the capital budget to protect the country from flooding and drought and a big enough revenue budget to maintain, service and run these vital defences.”
Contact Justin Bowden 07710 631 351 or Frank Minal 07713 079930 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880.