Cobra-style flooding taskforce to protect communities, Labour pledges
The party said that the new body would ensure vulnerable areas are identified in advance, as well as providing accountability for progress on flood prevention.
It claimed that ministers’ inaction on the issue has cost the economy nearly £4 billion since 2010 across four major floods, accusing the Conservatives of “complacency”.
Shadow environment secretary Steve Reed said: “My heart goes out to all families and businesses whose lives and livelihoods have been damaged by these floods.
“The Conservatives’ sticking-plaster approach has left communities devastated and cost the economy billions of pounds.
“In government, Labour will set up a flood resilience taskforce that meets before every winter to make sure there is better co-ordination between national and local government and emergency services on the ground, so we give communities and local economies far better protection against flood damage.”
Labour said it would also appoint a “minister for resilience” at the Cabinet Office to better respond to emergencies.
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey raised eyebrows this week when she suggested the damage done by Storm Babet was harder to predict because rain came in from the east.
The Conservatives said Labour had “copy and pasted” the action the Government was already taking, in a dig at shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves who is facing accusations of apparent plagiarism in her new book.
“The Government already has a series of committees and taskforces – including Cobra itself – to monitor and tackle flooding including: the Flood Forecasting Centre, the National Flood Advisory Service, the National Situation Centre, the National Flood Response Centre and local resilience forums,” a Conservative spokesman said.