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Monday, 13 January 2014

Flood Defence Spending

Recently, there was a spat over whether the spending on flood defences has gone up or down.  The answer appears to be that it has gone down even as the likelihood of flooding has gone up. 

One of the interesting issues in this debate is who will be held responsible?  Flood defences are surely one of those areas where everyone ignores the problem until catastrophe strikes, as Seithenyn did in The Misfortunes of Elphin.  Given that suh floods may only happen say once in a decade, it is hard for individual ministers such Owen Paterson to be held responsible.  Therefore they have little incentive to make investments now (and therefore cuts elsewhere) in order to escape dire consequences at some future point.  The only incentive I can see is a sense of public duty and the knowledge that you are doing a good job, traits one does not associate with ministers in this government.


The government has now been forced to correct its figures, which must leave David Cameron and Owen Paterson humiliated.  Hence their leaving it to a junior minister.  There is also the question as to whether we are spending money on the right things.  George Monbiot has an interesting take here.

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