Austerity means reliance on helpers



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National park chiefs have admitted they can only conserve some of Europe’s finest moorlands by relying on the kindness of volunteers, as the Government’s austerity measures erode key departments.

The North York Moors National Park Authority has proposed how it intends to make its latest round of cuts totalling £300,000 and managers concede that they will now have to rely more on external funding, volunteers, apprentices and graduates.

The park’s chief executive Andy Wilson said it was “inevitable” that public spending cuts, which by next year will have amounted to a 40 per cent reduction in the Authority’s budget since 2010, will affect frontline services.

However, he hopes a substantial pool of people will be prepared to carry out conservation work in the park without pay: “There’s a generation of people retiring earlier who are fitter and better skilled than ever before and we need to use that,“ Mr Wilson said. “We will strain every sinew to maintain our services and conserve the park as best we can.”

The proposed cuts in the North York Moors will be discussed on Monday before a final decision is taken in September.

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