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Environment Agency braced for job cuts

Environment Agency civil engineering jobs were under threat this week as ministers prepared to make spending cuts.

The Agency has told public sector trade union Unison that it is seeking a 20% cut in overall staffing levels, including a 25% cut in executive managers.

Unison national officer for business and environment Steve Bloomfield said the pressure to make savings is coming from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The Treasury has ordered it to make cuts of £162M from its budget. The Agency’s share in these cuts is not yet known, but as the largest Defra body it is expected bear the brunt.

“The Agency is anticipating what Defra will eventually impose, as it does not know the true extent yet,” said Bloomfield.

“I expect that we won’t achieve the target without use of compulsory redundancy.”

Reviews underway

The Agency said it was “focusing resources and staff on priority areas”. A review of teams is underway but no decisions have yet been made.

“As this process is ongoing it is impossible to say what staff reduction numbers there may be across the organisation.”

A source close to the Environment Agency told NCE that the Treasury cuts are running deeper than the Agency expected and that the review of staff numbers was unlikely to finish for some months.

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