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Union presses EA on how new funding will be used

Environment Agency officials have been urged by the trade union GMB to clarify the impact a recent £130m injection from Whitehall will have on proposed job cuts.

Discussions on the matter between EA and the trade union’s representatives were inconclusive, according to the GMB.

The EA is set to lose 1,700 (15%) of its staff by October, and is instigating a ‘change programme’.

But the plan has been put on hold following the recent widespread flooding in England.

The GMB claims that during the meeting EA managers told the union that the agency was assessing the implication of the new government funding, £130m for repair and maintenance that was announced in early February.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer for EA members, said: “When the unions pressed as to when this assessment will be completed they said they did not know. A further joint meeting is scheduled for next week but the issue may still be unclear then.

“I formed the clear impression that it will be the Prime Minister who will make the final decisions on how this money is to be spent.”

Toby Willison, EA programme director, maintained that incident response remained a priority above all other work.

“We are reviewing the timetable for the Environment Agency’s change programme and will not be entering a formal consultation with staff until the current flooding has subsided,” he said.

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