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Flood Risk: Rural Communities

Volume 747: debated on Thursday 14 March 2024

Around 45% of the Government’s £5.2 billion investment in flood protection is targeted at rural communities, and the Minister for Water is allocating £75 million of funding specifically to internal drainage boards, which, again, serve many rural constituencies.

I thank the Secretary of State for his answer. In recent months, parts of North Warwickshire and Bedworth, including Austrey, Polesworth and the Woodlands, have seen significant and unprecedented flooding, which has caused real damage to houses and businesses and upheaval for local residents. Will the Secretary of State set out what other steps can be taken to prevent this from happening and to stop these situations becoming the norm?

My hon. Friend has been a real constituency champion in highlighting some of the flooding issues that have occurred in North Warwickshire and Bedworth. Of the Environment Agency investment over six years, £24 million is going specifically into protecting 800 properties, and I know we will have further discussions on the work that he is doing locally to tackle flooding.

I thank the Secretary of State for his response. As he will know, the Northern Ireland Assembly is back up and running. We have a Minister in place to deal with flooding, but money must be spent wisely and effectively. What discussions has the Secretary of State had with the Northern Ireland Assembly Minister at this early stage to ensure that lessons learned here on the mainland can be used back home, where over the past year flooding has become an exceptional problem that worries many people?

I think the whole House welcomes the fact that the Assembly is back up and running. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I am very keen, as a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, that money is spent in a value-for-money way. I was in the Northern Ireland Secretary’s constituency just last week to discuss a range of issues in Northern Ireland, and I am very keen that we learn from each other about the best ways to tackle flooding.