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WRAP job losses expected in 25% funding cut as Defra budget pressures bite - COMMENT UPDATE

Proposed 25% budget cuts at the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has prompted warnings of staff job cuts and programme reductions. In a letter to staff WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin explained that the situation was the result of the serious budget pressures faced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). She said that: Defra has indeed asked us to reduce our budget by a significant amount. The final amount is still to be agreed but Defra have told us that for planning purposes we should expect a reduction of about 25%. This means that WRAPs budget will be about £55-60m once other contributions have been taken into account. An early January meeting between Goodwin and Environment Minister Joan Ruddock is set to discuss budgets and priorities. Final budget and programme details are expected in early February 2008. Goodwin said that she understood Defras financial pressures, which follow the tight comprehensive spending review settlement made in October, but added: We have spent time ensuring that they are absolutely clear about the importance of the work we are doing. And Defra recognises that we do make a real difference. At our Board meeting only last week we heard from the Defras representative Neil Thornton said that WRAP was highly valued by Ministers for the quality of its advice and the influence it could bring to bear. While she said that in a budget cut like this there will some impact on jobs she also said that in parallel some jobs a would be created because of new or changed priorities, adding: Overall we are going to work hard to contain the impact on staff numbers. As she prepared her staff for the 31 day consultation period, she urged them to continue to demonstrate how efficient WRAP is as well as focussing on its core strengths. Comment: Following a letter received from Joan Ruddock in respect of concerns over a specific waste stream, which my company are diverting away from landfill (along with 3 others), it would appear that funding will impact us all. I would urge the waste management sector to lobby the CIWM and other bodies to support the WRAP programme as it is indeed the only one that is developing 'out the box' ideas. Let me have any of your thoughts, as I will certainly dialogue again with Miss Ruddock. Posted by Warren Fothergill, Recyclet Ltd, 13/12/2007 Comment: The waste industry will be at a loss without the one to one consultation currently being offered by WRAP - there will be a direct impact on us all. Posted by Helena, FMW Recycling, 17/12/2007

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