Floods, climate change and capitalism

The Tory government has blamed climate change for the floods which have devastated northern England and parts of Scotland.

However, these extreme weather events were entirely predictable. In fact, cabinet ministers were advised just days before storm Desmond hit Cumbria that such floods would occur and that current flood defences were inadequate because of spending cuts.

However, Prime Minister David Cameron ignored these concerns in order to pursue his austerity agenda. Consequently, thousands of homes, shops and businesses have been ruined, costing billions of pounds.

The Tories – having been severely criticised in 2013, when in coalition, for cuts to the Environment Agency’s flood defence budget – have attempted to parry renewed criticism by pledging an extra £40 million spending – a fraction of the cuts made since 2010.

Moreover, a 40% reduction in council funding by the government over the last five years has also resulted in abandoned flood defence schemes and a lack of maintenance of existing defences.

Clearly, measures to protect communities against the effects of climate change require a fight to defeat government austerity cuts.