Budget cut a challenge to future of Wrap
Defra funding of Wrap is being slashed from £26 million in 2013/14 to £15.5 million in 2014/15, leaving the waste body dependent on support from the devolved administrations and income from its commercial activities
Resource management minister Dan Rogerson told delegates at Wrap’s annual conference that Defra would continue to fund the waste and resources body, but said the environment department could not maintain finance at current levels.
“We’re reducing the funding to 60% of current levels. This is still a significant sum,” he said. Rogerson said that, in future, Wrap would focus its expertise on reducing food waste, improving the sustainability of textiles and electrical products, and in supporting local authorities and the recycling and reuse sectors.
He also told delegates that from next spring Defra would withdraw from some of the areas where it now does proactive policy work, including energy-from-waste, commercial and industrial waste, and construction and demolition waste. “It’s not that I don’t think that these are important, but others, such as businesses, are already doing work and are best placed to act,” he claimed.
Wrap’s chief executive Liz Goodwin told the conference that the 40% cut in Defra funding leaves the waste and resources body with its biggest challenge, but she said it was already working to diversify its income base. “With support from our partners and a willingness to consider different and new ways of working I believe Wrap will continue to thrive,” she said.
In July, Wrap announced that it had secured €3.1 million from the EU for its REBus – resource efficient business models – project, which will enable it to deliver 10 pilots with major organisations and a further 20 with small businesses in the UK and in the Netherlands.
Goodwin pledged that, despite the funding reduction, Wrap would not become purely a consultancy. “We acknowledge a need to be more commercial in approach and outlook, but not to be a consultancy, let me be clear about that,” she said.
In December 2018, the government released its resources and waste strategy for England, announcing its plan to address resource efficiency and the ‘market failure’ of waste production.
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