Local authority regulatory budgets ‘cut by a third’

November 26th, 2012 Category: Office Cleaning

Government cuts could return the UK to a state of squalor, an independent report has warned.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the budget for regulatory services in the UK has been reduced by 32 per cent per person in real terms since 2009. This, the research body stated, means that cleaning and maintenance services budgets have depleted quicker than any local authority department other than planning in that time.

With the national debt showing little sign of slowing, it looks like the squeeze will continue into the future and health and safety officers fear more law-abiding companies could forced to cut corners, reports the Financial Times.

Commercial property owners could look to outsource services to maintenance standards, with cleaning contractors likely to keep their offices and grounds in good shape without blowing their own budget.

Julie Barratt from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said councils are able to reduce these services with little protest from the general public.

"When we had E. coli in South Wales, people deliberately and knowingly flouted food hygiene and the public got very interested in environmental health. But when people aren't getting poisoned, killed in the workplace and there are no problems with pests, no one takes any notice," she told the newspaper.
Yet the cuts have already had an impact and the public perception could change very quickly.

The Trading Standards Institute is receiving rising numbers of complaints from firms stating that their own competitors are now beginning to break the law and are currently getting away with it.

Andy Forester of the TSI said: "We meet with industry groups and they ask us: why aren't you taking action?"

He added that some services within the councils have been restructured to share staff, but in general the cuts had been too quick to explore viable alternatives.