Spending review green agenda funding welcome but concerns remain over public sector pay freeze, says CIEH

25 November 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of additional funding in the Spending Review to support the UK moving towards net zero, but expressed serious concern about the public sector pay freeze. 

The Chancellor announced an additional £12bn funding in 2021/22 to help the UK reach Net Zero by 2050, including £120m for zero emission buses and £1.3bn for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. He also announced an extension of the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme with £320 million of funding in 2021-22, and reaffirming the Government’s commitment to spending £3 billion on building decarbonisation.

This was alongside a £2.5bn investment in the transport networks of eight city regions across England; supporting good public transport and reducing air pollution. 

However, the planned public sector pay freeze has caused concern and confusion across the environmental health profession.

Debbie Wood, Executive Director for Membership and External Affairs at CIEH, said:

“We are pleased to see the Government providing significant funding to support the UK in moving towards net zero and to help us meet our energy and environmental commitments. 

However, we are deeply concerned about the Chancellor’s announcement of a pay freeze for many working in the public sector. 

Our members working for local authorities have been at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic response, after doctors and nurses. They have also worked tirelessly to ensure that restrictions are adhered to, businesses can re-open safely, as well as supporting their communities to deal with issues around noise, housing, food safety and other health and safety aspects.

Having previously praised the work of environmental health professionals during this pandemic, the decision by the Government to now freeze their pay is both confusing and questionable.”

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