After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts

After months of denial over the spending cuts on flood defences, the government has now revealed what most have known for a long time. Instead of the capital investment for flood defence spending for 2011/12 being, as David Cameron claimed, “roughly the same as what was spent over the past four years”, it has now been acknowledged by the government that funding would actually face an extraordinary 27 per cent cut.

After months of denial over the spending cuts on flood defences, the government has now revealed what most have known for a long time. Instead of the capital investment for flood defence spending for 2011/12 being, as David Cameron claimed, “roughly the same as what was spent over the past four years”, it has now been acknowledged by the government that funding would actually face an extraordinary 27 per cent cut.


Indeed, it was Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, who persisted for months that the CSR settlement would only see “a slight decrease” of 8 per cent. In fact, adding insult to injury, the fall from £354 million to £259m ignores the persistently high inflation rate, meaning the cut will surpass the 27 per cent in real terms.

All in all, the Tory-led government is now committed to only protecting as many households in four years as Labour did in two years.

The spending cuts appear even more absurd in light of the Environment Agency (EA) arguing that:

“…every pound invested in improved flood protection in England, reduces the long term cost of flooding and coastal erosion by £8.”

Hence, the savings the government will make in the very short term will be negated and overtaken by the medium and long term costs. In the worst case scenario:

“…a reduction of £150m in the budget over the next four years could cost the public circa £4.8bn in the future.”

Due to the sheer scale of the cuts and the end of the Statement of Principles, a guarantee for universal insurance coverage for homes in affected areas, insurance experts predict a “devastating” outcome:

“My greatest fear is that inadequate spending on defence will affect home insurance premiums and could leave thousands of homes uninsurable and thus unmortgageable.”

As a result, many communities throughout England now face uncertainty over the protection of their homes as projects are delayed or even shelved. According to Lord Smith, chairman of the EA, the cut means:

“There will be communities that would – if funding had remained in place as at present – be starting flood defence work in a year or two years’ time that will now be delayed.”

In total, the EA estimates there will be more than five million properties that are now at risk of being flooded.

The least the present government can do is inform the electorate what schemes will be cancelled or postponed and, furthermore, reassure the public that every household and business will receive the necessary flood protection. However, even though time is of the essence, Richard Benyon, the environment minister, claimed back in November last year that it is:

“…too early to identify individual new flood defence projects that will be funded during the coming spending period.”

The communities at risk in England deserve certainty over future spending as soon as possible. As a result of the tragic 2007 floods in many parts across the country, Labour ensured that sufficient progress was made in protecting homes and businesses throughout the UK by increasing its funding from £340 million in 2008/09 to £354m in 2010/11.

The Cornwall floods back in November last year will occur again and to decrease funding so drastically is an irresponsible dereliction of duty towards millions of households and businesses across the country.

11 Responses to “After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts”

  1. mrs muffy

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  2. politicsinbrum

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  3. CAROLE JONES

    Typical… After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  4. downinjamaica

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  5. Siren of Brixton

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts http://bit.ly/gpt2BP

  6. L DTUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  7. pabloscott

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  8. Paul Trembath

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts: http://bit.ly/fajsnX

  9. Matthew

    RT @leftfootfwd: After months of denial, an admission flood defences face massive cuts http://bit.ly/gpt2BP

  10. Mr. Sensible

    Couldn’t agree more; there seems no logic to cutting flood defenses.

  11. Daniel Pitt

    Government admits massive flood defence cuts following months of denial http://bit.ly/fajsnX #ConDemNation

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