Cuts Watch #14: £247m less green
Energy and environment programmes face cuts totalling £247m (DECC £85m; Defra £162m) – described as “making savings … which will be delivered from cutting waste and inefficiency”, and reducing lower priority programme spend. Many of these decisions will effect financial support received by the business community, including those who receive advice from, or have contracts with, the public sector.
Both departments will cut part of their funding for the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs):
DECC has cut –
- £4.8m from the department’s administrative costs including savings on pay and travel.
- £20.2m from efficiencies across the Department’s delivery bodies.
- £26m from other efficiencies including £6m by targeting “lower impact spend” in the RDAs, and reducing their running costs.
- £34m from business support programmes including moving forward closure of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP).
The LCBP closure includes a £3m cut in the last stage of the renewable heat element of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP). Devices like solar water heaters, ground source heat pumps, biomass installations are being installed in their low thousands now across the UK. Last year, 16,639 projects were approved under the LCBP, from householders, communities and businesses. There’s no announcement yet on the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive”, which is due to take effect in April 2011.
Defra and its Arm’s Length Bodies will contribute £162m (5.5% of its 2010/11 budget). Defra has listed the efficiencies, but has provided no further detail as yet. The cuts will include:
- limiting recruitment and reducing the number of non-permanent staff;
- operational savings in IT, estates and procurement;
- a reduction in funding for RDAs;
- efficiencies in flood management while maintaining an increase in expenditure; and
- savings within the delivery of selected programmes.
For now, bodies such as the Environment Agency are not able to provide any further detail on the operational impact of the decisions.