Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Urgent Question: Flood defences

The government has unveiled plans for 39 new projects improving flood defences for homes and businesses in England.

On 9 February 2011, junior environment minister Richard Benyon said 21 of the new flood and coastal defence projects will provide extra protection to more than 13,000 households.

The remaining projects will provide "vital repairs and safety enhancements" to existing defences.

But shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said the government had cut the flood defence budget by £95m this year and many schemes had been cancelled.

Answering an urgent question tabled by Ms Craegh in the Commons, Mr Benyon said: "I understand the concerns of people and honourable members who are worried that a particular scheme is not on the indicative list for funding.

"I should stress however that this does not amount to the government cancelling schemes or saying that any particular scheme cannot go ahead in the future.

"The method of government funding for schemes starting 2012-13 and beyond is currently under review."

Ms Creagh said capital funding for flood defence had dropped from £354m to £259m in one year.

She asked: "Can the minister confirm this is a 27% cash cut to the budget, 32% in real terms when inflation is taken into account - not this bizarre 8% cut that he insists on briefing in the media?"

The £95m cut would cost the nation £760m in "lost future value", Ms Creagh said.

"We know certain schemes have been cancelled because those MPs have been briefed in those areas," she added.

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