Failure to fund extra flood defences in Leeds is an insult to the city, MP Rachel Reeves tells Sajid Javid

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves
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A Leeds MP has accused the Chancellor of an "insult" to the people of the city by failing to provide extra funding for flood defences in his spending round.

Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, said it would be a "bitter blow" to people and businesses "that the Chancellor has ignored all the calls to urgently improve local flood defences in his latest spending plans".

Ms Reeves, who chairs the Commons Business Select Committee, says residents and businesses in the Kirkstall area of the city are no better protected now than they were at the time of the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015.

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Civic leaders say only a one-in-200 year level of protection would defend Kirkstall from the flooding seen in 2015, which damaged 700 commercial properties and nearly 3,000 homes at a cost of £36.8m.

The Government has committed £65m in funding towards Phase Two of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme but £25.3m remains, meaning Leeds City Council is trying to find another source of funding.

Ms Reeves said in a statement today: “This failure to come up with the funds flies in the face of previous assurances from ministers that we should wait for the Chancellor's funding review for the promised extra funds.

"This winter it will be four years since the floods in Leeds and Kirkstall and yet the Government has still failed to fund the flood defences we need to protect our city and our communities in Burley and Kirkstall. It is an insult to the people of Leeds from Boris Johnson and this Tory government.

"With winter around the corner, people will be understandably worried about the risk of future floods.

"This spending review is far more about the Tories gearing up for a snap election and trying to extricate themselves from the chaos they have created over Brexit rather trying to help people who are still suffering the impact of almost a decade of Tory austerity.

"I will continue to press the Government for proper flood protection for Leeds and a fair deal for the whole region."