FSB calls on government to up game on flood defense
Government flood defense spending which fluctuates from year to year is putting communities and small businesses at risk, a new report from the House of Commons audit committee has argued.
The cross-party group of politicians who compiled the report highlighted the reactive nature of government flood defense spending, and raised doubts about the government’s target of protecting 300, 000 buildings with 2.3bn of spending. They also highlighted a lack of long term planning around how to manage flood risk.
In Calderdale alone, the damage to small and medium-sized businesses caused when Storm Desmond struck in December 2015 is estimated in the study to have cost firm owners almost 50m, with further indirect costs of over 170m.
many small businesses in parts of northern England, Scotland and Wales are still recovering from the devastating floods last Christmas. The damage that occurred in places like Cumbria and Leeds is a reminder of the critical role that flood defenses play, and highlights the problems when they don’t operate properly, said Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry.
ministers need to put a proper, multi-agency strategy in place to manage the risks of flooding across the UK. Long term plans must ensure that homes and businesses are protected through a combination of flood defence schemes and strategic river management. We want to see ministers publish their flooding strategy to set out how government, local authorities and business can work together to make small businesses more flood resilient, he added.
Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.
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