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Budget 2016 | Osborne finds cash for flood defences

Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to spend an extra £700M over the next five years on flood defences.

Osborne said schemes in Yorkshire and Cumbria in particular would benefit from the cash.

cumbria floods

Cumbria floods

Chancellor George Osborne has found £130M for repairs to infrastructure damaged by this winter’s storms

An increase in the rate of a tax paid by insurance firms will pay for the extra spending, which takes the government’s committed flood defence capital programme to £3bn.

“To respond to the increasing extreme weather events our country is facing I am today proposing a further substantial increase in flood defences,” said Osborne.

“That would not be affordable within existing budgets.

“So I am going to increase the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax by just half a percentage point – and commit all the extra money we raise to flood defence spending.”

The Ouse and Foss flood defence schemes in York, and phase 2 of the Leeds flood alleviation scheme, will begin in 2018/19, according to the Budget documents.

On top of the £700M, the government committed £130M to repair infrastructure damaged by this winter’s storms.

Councils welcomed the move but said that the extra cash was unlikely to be enough to cover costs of recovering from the winter’s “horrendous” flooding.

“Government funding has been important in enabling local authorities and their communities to recover from the winter’s flooding havoc and the additional £700M by 2020/21 is another significant step in the right direction. However, councils will almost certainly need more financial help from the government as the full cost of the winter’s horrendous flooding damage emerges,” said Local Government Association environment spokesman Peter Box.

“Crucially, new flood defence funding must be devolved by the government to local areas, with councils working with communities and businesses to ensure money is directed towards projects that best reflect local needs. Councils know their local areas and are best placed to help families get back on their feet.”


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