Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has accused Chancellor Sajid Javid of an “insult” to the people of Leeds by failing to fund urgently needed flood defences in his spending round.
Ms Reeves said residents and businesses in the Kirkstall and Burley areas are no better protected now than they were at the time of the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015.
The Leeds West MP says only a one-in-200 year level of protection would defend Kirkstall from the flooding seen in 2015. The Government has committed £65m in funding towards a scheme that would defend against a onje in 100 year event..
The lack of Government commitment means there is a £25.3m shortfall, leaving Leeds City Council to find other sources of funding.
Ms Reeves said:
“It will be a bitter blow to people and businesses in Leeds and across Yorkshire that the Chancellor has ignored all the calls to urgently improve local flood defences in his latest spending plans.
“This failure to come up with the funds flies in the face of previous assurances from ministers that we should wait for the Chancellor’s funding review for the promised extra funds.
“This winter it will be four years since the floods and yet the Government has still failed to fund the flood defences we need to protect our city and our communities in Burley and Kirkstall. It is an insult to the people of Leeds from Boris Johnson and this Tory government.
“With winter around the corner, people will be understandably worried about the risk of future floods. This spending review is far more about the Tories gearing up for a snap election and trying to extricate themselves from the chaos they have created over Brexit rather trying to help people who are still suffering the impact of almost a decade of Tory austerity.
“I will continue to press the Government for proper flood protection for Leeds and a fair deal for the whole region. But only a Labour government can deliver the real investment that our NHS, schools and transport systems desperately need.”
Ms Reeves wrote to Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers last month to urge her to prioritise the city’s flood alleviation scheme.
In a letter to the Cabinet Minister, she said the Government had to end the “delay and dither” surrounding the funding of the scheme.