Severe flooding hit parts of the north of England and Wales over the last few days, leading to heavy criticism of the government for cuts to flood defences over recent years.

Prime minister David Cameron defended himself against criticism that there was a North-South divide in funding to defences, by responding that the government spent "more per head of the population on flood defences in the North than we do in the South".

Prime minister Cameron said, while visiting flood-hit areas:

We are going to spend £2.3bn on flood defences in this parliament but we will look at what's happened here and see what needs to be done.

What Mr Cameron fails to mention is that the coalition government announced 15 per cent cuts to flood defences in the 2010 Autumn Statement.

A November 2014 research briefing by the House of Commons showed the year on year cuts to the funding for Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, the government department in charge of flood defences in England.

The briefing estimated that 5.2 million properties were at risk of flooding in England alone, with annual flood damage costs in the region of £1.1 billion every year, (roughly £600 million more than is spent on defences).

In addition, the report concluded that these annual costs could rise to as much as £27 billion by 2080.

As of Tuesday, the Environment Agency had nine severe flood warnings in place, which indicate a danger to life in the area, in the north of England.


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