Flooding funding to hit £5.2bn as Rishi Sunak pledges to deliver on promises
Government funding for flood defences is expected to double to more than £5bn in the upcoming budget.
Chancellor and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak has pledged to deliver on the Conservative Party's commitment to 'levelling up' the country and protecting cities, towns and villages at risk of flooding.
Yorkshire bore the brunt of Storms Ciara and Dennis earlier this year, with Calderdale being one of the worst affected areas and North Yorkshire also suffering. It came just months after South Yorkshire was struck by flooding in November, and less than a year after catastrophic floods in the Yorkshire Dales.
The Treasury says the extra funding - doubled from £2.6bn - will help protect 336,000 properties in England over the next six years.
Speaking ahead of his Budget statement, 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.
He is also expected to announce a further £120m as part of a 'Winter Defence Repair Fund' to help repair flood defences as quickly as possible.
The announcement comes just days after leaders in Leeds issued a last-ditch plea to the Government to pay for vital flood defences. Leeds City Council's Flood Alleviation Scheme - which was drawn up in the aftermath of the 2015 Boxing Day floods - is still £23m short of the £112m it needs.
Figures from last month show close to 1,000 businesses had been flooded nationally, with 572 located in the Calder Valley hit during Storm Ciara.
Craig Whittaker, the Tory MP for Calder Valley said getting money to help with the clean up effort had been a “nightmare” and criticised the number of properties which needed to be affected before Government assistance was triggered.
He added: "The Calder Valley will always flood no matter what we do, but what we can do is we can do more than just build walls. We’ve got to do more to stop this happening on this scale.”
The government is currently investing £2.6 billion into its flood defence investment programme, which ends in 2021. The announcement, expected when Mr Sunak delivers his Budget on Wednesday, will see that figure double to £5.2bn for the period of 2021-27.