Government 'U-turn' as flood budget rises £120m

 

The Government was accused of making yet another U-turn by announcing a £120m boost to flood defences after cutting the annual budget by £95m.

Under Labour, expenditure on flood defence reached £354m annually. But this was cut to £259m by the Coalition. Of the extra £120m fund announced yesterday, £35m will be available in 2013-2014, meaning there will still be a £60m shortfall on previous investment levels. The remaining £85m has been allocated to the following year.

Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, said: "This year's floods have shown how short-sighted the Government was to cut investment in flood defences by £95m a year, leaving homes and businesses unprotected. Flooding is the biggest threat the UK faces from climate change, yet even after today's mini U-turn the Government will still be spending less on flood defences next year than in 2008."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment said: the new £120m fund meant more money than ever would be spent on flood defences.

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