Cash for flood defences to double to £5.2bn in upcoming Budget, Rishi Sunak confirms
The Chancellor is set to announce a doubling of the cash available for improving flood defences following the devastation caused to homes last month.
Rishi Sunak will use this week's Budget to confirm £5.2billion will be set aside after more than 3,300 properties in England are thought to have been flooded in February after record rainfall saw some areas experiencing a month's rain in just 24 hours.
The peak of the crisis saw a record number of flood warnings triggered across the country, with Labour calling for an independent review into the Government’s handling of the crisis.
The extra Treasury cash would be used to build 2,000 new defence schemes to help protect 336,000 homes across England.
A £120million Winter Defence Repair Fund has also been announced to ensure damaged flood defences are fixed as soon as possible.
The £5.2billion figure doubles the Government's current committment to spend £2.6billion on flood defences between 2015 and 2021.
This latest round of funding will be spent over the next 6 years, and will cause an 11% reduction in flood risk across England, according to the Environment Agency.
Mr Sunak said: “This Budget will be about delivering on our promises to the British people, and levelling up all parts of the UK is a big part of that.
“Communities up and down Britain have been hit hard by the floods this winter - so it is right that we invest to protect towns, families, and homes across the UK.”
It comes after a pledge by the Government last month to spend £1.2billion on the world’s most powerful supercomputer to forecast extreme weather like February’s record-breaking rain.
But the Prime Minister faced criticism for his reaction to the flooding by not calling to convene an emergency Cobra meeting, and was branded a “part-time” Prime Minister by Jeremy Corbyn for failing to visit the worst-hit areas.