The real cost of austerity

8th September 2019 / NewsBits, United Kingdom

Over the last decade, the agencies that enforce the rules governing our environment, workplace, food chain and health and safety have had their budgets substantially reduced. Strapped for cash and short on staff, many watchdogs no longer have the tools for the important jobs they do.


  • Local Authority food law enforcement staff fell by 27% from 2009/10 to 2016/17
  • Reported cases of compromised safety or integrity of meat products have doubled in the last 6 years
  • Food product sampling and testing by Local Authorities fell by 44% from 2009/10 to 2016/17
  • From 2009/10 to 2016/17 funding for Natural England fell by 66%
  • From 2009/10 to 2016/17 total Environment Agency prosecutions of businesses fell by 80%
  • Serious pollution incidents in the UK from the farming, water and waste sectors are a weekly occurrence
  • Health and Safety Executive funding From 2009/10 to 2016/17 the agency’s funding fell by 49%
  • From 2009/10 to 2016/17 routine air pollution checks by Local Authorities in England and Wales fell by 39%
  • In the last decade, the number of alerts by the EU safety system for extremely unsafe products has risen by 34%
  • From 2009/10 to 2016/17 Local Authority Trading Standards staff fell by 56%
  • From 2014/15 to 2016/17 National Trading Standards scam investigations fell by 24%
  • From 2009/10 to 2016/17 Local Authority Environmental Health Officers fell by a third
  • From 2009/10 to 2016/17 Local Authority prosecutions of fly-tippers fell by 36%
  • One in eight local roads face closure due to potholes


Source: From a series of reports TruePublica is publishing week commencing 16th September 2019.


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