Only a fifth of English councils will shield waste and recycling services from 2011/12 spending cuts, according to a Local Government Association (LGA) survey.1 One in eight said waste services would face larger cuts, in percentage terms, than those applied to their entire budget.
The association polled 349 council finance directors in March, receiving 131 replies.
In identifying which of 23 services faced the largest proportional hits, 12% cited waste and recycling and 9% street cleansing and enforcement. Only a few (4% in each case) singled out emergency planning and flood defence or ‘protecting the environment’. Central services were the most likely to face heavy cuts.
For budgets that will be protected most, waste and recycling were cited by 21%; street cleansing and enforcement by 12%; protecting the environment by 7% and emergency planning and flood defence by 5%.
Nine in ten said the number of senior officer roles at their council had fallen. Four in five councils have cut middle management costs, through reducing headcount or pay.
Pay cuts for staff on lower grades are less likely. Three quarters said they did not envisage making such savings over the next two years. Pay freezes are more likely (ENDS Report 434, pp 42-44).
But job losses among councils’ environmental staff are in prospect. ENDS’ recent survey found all bar four of 51 environmental professionals employed by councils expect a dip in green employment at their organisation (ENDS Report 434, pp 38-41).