28/11/2014

Draft DoE Budget Could Mean 500 More Job Cuts

The Department of the Environment could be facing 500 job cuts due to cuts outlined in a draft budget consultation.

Published on the department's website, the draft document shows potential budget cuts of £12.9m in 2015/16.

The report outlines five key impacts of the proposed budget cut. They are:

• Immediate and substantial reductions in key statutory grant payments to all councils and particularly to those less well off councils dependent on additional rate support payments to guarantee basic levels of service provision at local levels.

• Immediate action to secure a reduction of at least 500 posts across the department to be taken forward via a centrally managed voluntary exit scheme. This staffing reduction, would have an immediate negative impact on the range and quality of services provided by the department.

• A significant curtailment of road safety promotion and associated education activity in schools at a time of rising fatalities on our roads.

• The termination of a wide range of grant and other support programmes that are aimed at supporting key environmental programmes. These cuts will have immediate and significant implications, including the loss of jobs, for a wide range of voluntary, educational and private sector bodies across the North. Other contracted services provided by a diverse range of educational, public sector, voluntary, community based and private sector organisations would also be ended.

• There is also no provision in the department's baseline for next year for the Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance to Councils and householders affected by flooding events.

It is understood that the department's budget for its road safety campaigns would also be "significantly" reduced.

A number of Stormont departments are currently producing reports on how they would cope with proposed budget cuts.

(MH/JP)

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