Twice as much money spent on flood defences in South
MORE is spent on flood defences per head in the South East of England than anywhere else in the country, including flood-hit Yorkshire, it has emerged.
Despite Leeds, York and Calderdale experiencing devastating floods on Boxing Day and Prime Minister David Cameron and Environment Secretary Liz Truss coming to inspect the damage, new analysis reveals the Government’s planned flood spending is five times more generous in the South East than in parts of the north.
And Yorkshire and the Humber gets half as much as the South East in terms of spending per head.
Halifax MP Holly Lynch, whose constituency includes flood-hit parts of Calderdale, said the funding levels will do little to inspire confidence among the public that their plight is being taken seriously.
But the Government say the figures are misleading, as their investment per head in a particular region doesn’t take account of the benefit to people further downstream of a particularly flood prone river.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Rainfall does not respect man-made regional boundaries so the Government spends money on flood defences and flood recovery where it is needed most, whether that’s north, south, east or west.”
Significant differences in per capita spending on new flooding schemes between regions are revealed in the new national infrastructure delivery plan published by the Government.
The plan sets out £4.1 billion of capital investment in schemes from 2016/2017 to 2022 and beyond, including major projects in Oxford, Lincolnshire, London and Fylde Peninsula, Lancashire.
By the end of 2020/2021, some £2.7 billion will have been spent on better protecting 300,000 homes, avoiding £23 billion in household damage and cutting flood risk in England by five per cent, the report released by the Treasury says.
But an analysis by the Press Association of the six major projects and 23 programmes from next year reveals the share of the £4.1bn is set to be much higher per person for the South East than anywhere else in England.
The figures, based on regional populations, show a per person spending of £167 in the South East, almost double the £92 being spent in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Labour MP Ms Lynch said: “With this announcement that spending in the South East will be double what it is in places like Leeds, York and Calderdale, I worry that we still have a long way to go before the Government really stumps up the support that we need if they are serious about a Northern Powerhouse.”
The Government say spending has far exceeded the promises made in their manifesto.