GMB Call For Environment Agency To Be Exempt From Making Contribution To 15% Cuts In DEFRA Budget To Protect Flood Defences
Seeking volunteers for redundancy should be halted and the Executive Directors at the planning meeting on 21st Jan and at “Big Room” meeting with DEFRA on 22nd Jan and at the Board Meeting in Bristol on 2nd Feb should oppose further cuts says GMB
GMB, the union for workers at the Environment Agency, is calling on senior managers at three forthcoming high level meetings to openly call for the Environment Agency to be exempt from making any contribution towards the 15% cut in the DEFRA budget and to halt the on-going exercise of seeking volunteers for redundancy.
There is an Environment Agency Executive Directors planning meeting on 21st January followed by them attending a “Big Room” meeting with DEFRA on 22nd January and the Open Board Meeting in Bristol on 2nd February where further cuts and job losses will be discussed.
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary Elect, said “The public want to see more investment in flood defences not just in York and other areas of Yorkshire, including the Upper Calder Valley as well as across the rest of the country.
GMB want senior managers at the Environment Agency at three forthcoming high level meetings to openly call for the Environment Agency to be exempt from making any contribution towards the 15% cut in the DEFRA budget.
There should be a halt the on-going exercise of seeking volunteers for redundancy. Executive Directors at the planning meeting on 21st Jan and at “Big Room” meeting with DEFRA on 22nd Jan and at the Board Meeting in Bristol on 2nd Feb should oppose further cuts. They should reject any “nested business plans” that involve further cuts.
GMB is also proud of our members and very hardworking engineers who work for the Environment Agency. They have made superhuman efforts to try and protect cities and towns all around the region and beyond.
GMB also pay tribute to the emergency workers, including the members of the Fire Brigades union, who are often not given credit by Tory government ministers for their tireless work helping those who found their homes and businesses inundated over the Christmas and New Year period.
GMB supports the recent comments of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who called for greater flood defence spending after experts criticised the chancellor, George Osborne, for prioritising cutting the deficit.
The emergency services do need public support and investment. GMB is totally against the cutting of flood defence money, which has been carried out over the past five years by this government. This is not the answer to the problem; the answer has to be to increase it. The floods are not, as government ministers have said in the past, a once in a generation event, they are occurring on an increasingly regular basis.”
George Osborne was criticised by academics who said their analysis showed that flood defence spending had fallen. Prof Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford University said the government had shown no sign of taking into account the increasing threat of extreme weather, commenting: “What you would really expect is to see spending at a much higher level. It doesn’t seem like the same kind of reaction which we know has happened to the threat of terrorism, where we know spending levels have increased by a large magnitude.”
GMB consider that a full enquiry should be held in Parliament to establish whether government cuts are to blame for the misery heaped on the people who are affected by the recent floods. GMB have always said that this is penny wise and pound foolish.”
Contact: Justin Bowden 07710 631 351 or or Tim Roache on 0345 337 7777 or GMB Yorkshire Steve Jennings on 07958-156831 or Desiree Risebury 07958-156848 or Neil Derrick 07958-156832