Budget 2020: Flood-hit areas to share £200m defence fund

By Martin Ford | 11 March 2020

Flood-hit areas will vie for £200m in funding to improve flood defences, the chancellor has announced in his Budget.

A £200m ‘place-based resilience programme’ has been announced that will go to 25 areas around the country, chosen based on criteria including ‘repeated significant flooding in the past’.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that overall investment in flood defences in England will total £5.2bn over the next six years, doubling spending and reducing national flood risk by up to 11% by protecting 336,000 homes and non-residential properties.

The figure includes an ‘immediate’ injection of £120m to the Environment Agency to repair storm damage over the winter months.

Devolved administrations will also receive extra funding based on the Barnett formula.

Research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, Jack Hunter, said: ‘Today's announcement on doubling investment in flood defences over the next six years to £5.2bn is welcome but much more is needed.

‘The funding announced today is still less than the £1bn a year that the Environment Agency says it needs.’

There were no announcements around reform of the Bellwin scheme to fund recovery, criticised as ‘limited and bureaucratic’ by the Local Government Association last month.

Small grant schemes of up to £5,000 for individual homes and businesses following November’s flooding also caused controversy after the Government limited funding to local authorities where more than 25 properties had been flooded.

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