POLITICS

Government Flood Defence Spending Is Down Despite David Cameron Saying Otherwise

06/01/2014 17:21 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 15:53 GMT

As people around the country deal with the horrendous effects of flooding on their homes you can be sure government spending on defences is a hot topic.

On Sunday's Andrew Marr show, David Cameron assured the public that the £2.3 billion set aside for the current four-year spending period is higher than the previous one.

Thing is though, it isn't.

Some excellent in-depth digging by Guy Shrubsole of Friends of the Earth reveals that whether using statistics from Defra or the National Audit office (NAO), spending is in fact less that the previous period.

The Defra figures indicate £46.1 million lower while the NAO stats give a figure of £103 million.

And this doesn't take into account inflation meaning the "current spending constitutes a real-terms cut on previous levels", says Shrubsole.

He concludes:

These figures matter; certainly they seem to matter to David Cameron and Owen Paterson, who have set such political store by them. But in the grand scheme of things, whether one government spends more than the last lot is irrelevant if they haven’t spent what’s necessary. And to protect the country against increasing flood risk as a result of climate change requires rising investment. In 2009, the Environment Agency calculated that we need to be spending £20m more (using 2010-11 as the baseline and on top of inflation), each and every year out to 2035, just to keep pace with climate change. And by that measure - the measure that truly matters - David Cameron’s government isn’t even treading water.

Follow Guy Shrubsole on Twitter here.