Monday, July 23, 2007

Flood defence budget cut and cut again!

Whilst many parts of the country are suffering from flooding, in fact extremely severe flooding it is worth considering what if anything, the political backlash could be.

Over the last few years DEFRA, the Department for the Eradication of Farming and Rural Areas, has been in crisis because it has made a complete mess of the new farm payments system causing massive extra costs and fines.

The net result according to this article in last years Guardian is a cut to flood defences. What is worse is that according to this article in Ground Sure, of the 10th of July this year, the budget cuts are still going ahead.

What is more, we can't call in the armed services to help, because they are overstretched.

At times like this it does not take a genius to work out sort of questions are going to come up at Prime ministers questions. Rather obviously Gordon Brown will therefore be prepared. I wonder how the follow up questions will go?

Hat tip to ColinW on for the links to the Guardian and Ground Sure.


James Higham said...

DEFRA is a perfect example of the bollocks that Britain is becoming.

Mark Senior said...

There are 3 separate things here .
i ) Who is responsible for building all these homes on flood plains - answer previous governments of both political persuasions and therefore equally to blame .
ii ) The reduction in spendening on flood defence - IMHO a red herring because except on a limited small scale no amount of spending would make any difference in the number of houses under water at the present time . My view is that any money spent would have been better unspent and used to ameliorate the damage caused in these exceptional circumstances once every 10/20 years .
iii ) The response to the current situation . Here is where any criticism of DEFRA and the government should be concentrated and may well be justified .

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the WLQ will come into play on this one particularly as there has been budget cutbacks or delibrate underspending.

The environment agency is just an English and Welsh body, the Scots have a body called the Scottish environmental protection agency.

Brown has been the man in charge of the money for 10 years. As this does not affect his constitients maybe he thought that it would not be an issue and he could give the blame if something went wrong to someone else?

Certainly if spending is higher per capitor or in total in Scotland questions will be asked by the English tax payer?

Elliott said...

I agree with Mark: his point 3 is the key (it's exactly what did Bush so much damage after Katrina).

I must admit I'm surprised how lightly the government seem to be getting off so far - the press seems happy, on the whole, to go with the "unpredictable disaster" angle (though see Observer article here which I found via Man in a Shed, who has a couple of good posts on this).