Decimation in the air at DECC?

Recent reports hint staffing levels at DECC could be slashed. Can they be believed?

On July 3, the Guardian wrote: “DECC faces 90% staffing cuts, in moves that could scupper UK progress on climate change.”

The paper quotes former energy secretary Ed Davey, who told its reporter, “Cutting DECC’s head count so dramatically would damage economic growth and undermine private investment.”

The staffing estimates come from the Green Alliance. It believes forthcoming cuts would leave the department with just £40m by 2018/19, for so-called resource spending, which largely consists of staff costs.

The Green Alliance data led to a lobbying letter from the UK’s leading academics to Oliver Letwin, urging caution. Their message is simple; climate policy would become undeliverable should the cuts make it through.

UK could become figure of world ridicule

Later this year, DECC representatives will convene with global governments in Paris, seeking to seal new rules to guide UN action on climate change.

Notwithstanding vast impacts on UK business, any DECC cuts would also undermine our negotiation position when the talks come.

A DECC spokesman told the Guardian: “Through making savings from underspends last year we have been able to protect spend on priority areas for 2015/16 including keeping the lights on and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. DECC budget will be set out by the Chancellor and any estimates before that are pure speculation.”

“Cutting frontline staff tasked with delivering a low carbon UK, in which sustainable businesses can thrive is lunacy,” said Joanna Watchman, Founder and Managing Director, Content Communications.

“Doing so while simultaneously inviting Chinese firms to  build the next generation of Britain’s nuclear power plants is folly. It represents a massive disconnect in UK energy thinking.”


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