Tuesday 11 February 2014

Letter 122: The Coalition's in a Pickle on Defra cuts and floods

"Dear Dave and Nick,

Gosh, what a Pickle! Last week Somerset, today the Thames Valley. Listening to Eric on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, I couldn't help wondering if your Minister's keenness to use UK flooding as a political football might result in an own goal. Sure enough, Lord Smith's robust response to Eric's finger pointing led us right back to your Chancellor's decisions to make cut backs: 

"When I hear someone criticising the expertise and the professionalism of my staff in the Environment Agency who know more about flood risk management - a hundred times more about flood risk management than any politician ever does - I'm afraid that I'm not going to sit idly by. The Environment Agency is bound by the rules that are laid down by Government. So when someone says that they followed the advice of the Environment Agency, what they were actually doing was following the Treasury rules which are laid down which say how much we can spend and how much we can't spend on any individual flood defence scheme."

And it struck me; water levels, child poverty, homelessness, food bank dependency, all rising under your Coalition government, all impacted very badly by austerity measures. Now you're living with the impact of cutting DEFRA's budget, surely you see that you're also storing up Big trouble for Society with your other cost cutting, short-term policies?

Yours, etc"

For further advice: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/

(Thanks to @THemingford for his help)

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