Friday, January 17, 2014

UK government admits flood spending drop

The Guardian (UK): The government has been forced to backtrack on its claims about flood defence spending, admitting the figure has gone down rather than up. The environment minister Dan Rogerson conceded on Thursday night that spending had fallen to £2.34bn in the current four years compared with £2.37bn previously. The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, had previously claimed the Tory-led coalition was spending "more on flood defences than any previous government".

The Environment Department had also said spending was at record levels. Rogerson said the discrepancy was regretted but add it was "minor" and caused by the complexity of flood funding. But environmental campaigners said ministers had misled parliament and the public by claiming the Government was spending more on flood defences.

David Cameron told the Commons earlier this month: "In this current four-year period we are spending £2.3bn, compared with £2.1bn in the previous period." It was later revealed those figures had been miscalculated.

The government's flood defence spending figures include not only its own contribution but "partnership" contributions it hopes to attract from councils.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: "Owen Paterson's own department has now been forced to admit it has cut flood defence spending, despite claims to the contrary by the beleaguered environment secretary. On the basis of these figures it appears both Mr Paterson and the prime minister have misled parliament and the public."...

The Talsarnau flood embankment overcome by high tide, shot by Arthur C Harris, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

No comments: