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200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 November 2015 at 11:30 am

Are you looking forward to the spending review on Wednesday? Do you think there will be anything positive for energy efficiency or renewables?  Many of us are thinking the opposite. The only way this can go for Climate Change, is badly.

We all know that we are living in an age of austerity.  Government spending is being cut in virtually every sector.  For energy that seems to mean cuts across the board for renewables (though not for Fracking – oh, don’t get me started) and no planned subsidies for energy efficiency.  The call for this to be a ‘national infrastructure programme’ appears to have fallen on deaf ears.  The only thing we do know for sure about the Comprehensive Spending Review is that it will hail a reduction in the numbers of staff at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). 

From the current level of 1,600 employees, Amber Rudd has now agreed to a reduction of some 12.5% or 200 posts.  DECC is already one of the smallest departments and it is difficult to see how they can cope with the challenge ahead with such small numbers.

The Permanent secretary to DECC, Stephen Lovegrove told the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee: ‘Clearly, in today’s environment we are very conscious of the need to make a contribution to general deficit reductions, so we will be scaling back the number of people in the department’.

Looking on the bright side we could perhaps be thankful that DECC has not had to face the 40% cut that many feared. But we do need to think about how we are going to meet our, legally binding, CO2 reduction targets.  We aren’t anywhere near achieving the kind of reductions that we need from our homes and currently Government doesn’t appear to have any kind of plan to get us back on track.  Who will be left at DECC to take the bull by the horns and get the UK working towards the goals? So, spending review on Wednesday, then the United National Climate Change Conference in Paris the following week. Watch this space….


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