Calls for government to halt flood defence cuts

Labour have today called for the Government to reverse its decision to slash funding for flood defences following devastating downpours across West Yorkshire. The shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh claimed cutting flood defence spending by a third could leave more homes at risk.

She said: "Communities that have been devastated by flooding should not have to go through that experience again." But Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman insisted prevention was "a vital area of the work of Government" and said ministers were spending £2 billion on measures to stop floods.

In some places a month's rain fell in 24 hours, leaving hundreds of homes swimming in dirty water and prompting forecasters to say the country could be on course for one of the wettest Junes of the last 100 years.