Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has hit back at Ed Balls after the shadow chancellor suggested he had fallen asleep during today's Budget speech.
Mr Balls had told a briefing of lobby journalists:
"Eric Pickles fell asleep for a quite extended period of time and Ed [Miliband] and I were worried because, you never know, there might have been some big cut in local government spending coming which he didn't know about so we just politely suggested to Vince Cable that he should wake him up."
In a Twitter reply to the Daily Mail's Tim Shipman, Mr Pickles witheringly dismissed Mr Balls' claims.
The Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has said he will change the restrictions on access to emergency funds for local authorities to allow them to access an extra £15 million to cover immediate flood-related costs:
I will be writing to councils shortly about lowering the threshold for the Bellwin scheme, which I estimate will make an extra £15m available to meet the immediate costs associated with protecting lives and properties.
I want to pay tribute to all the people who have rallied to support those communities affected.
That impressive British goodwill has seen neighbour helping neighbour, people refusing to take money for providing shelter and Gatwick waiving fees for additional Flybe flights to Newquay.
– Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles
However, Mr Pickles would not be drawn in to if it were the Government or the Environment Agency who 'took so long' to react to the floods.
Earlier this week Prince Charles said the "tragedy" in flood-hit Somerset "is that nothing happened for so long" to help as he met local residents, farmers and emergency services personnel who have been affected.
In an emergency statement to the Commons, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said new government provisions will help protect more than 42,000 households in 2014/2015.
"We've already put in place investment plans to improve the protection of at least 465,000 houses by the end of the decade. Together with other projects under construction in 2014/15, we will protect more than 42,00 households," said Pickles.
"The measures the coalition has announced today provide a clear commitment to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The additional funding means this government will be investing more than £3.1 billion compared to £2.7bn in the previous 5 years under the last Labour government," he added.
Eric Pickles says people deserve a weekly bin collections service in return for their taxes.He said: "This Government is standing up for hard-working people and getting rid of barmy bin policies which made families' lives hell.
"Rubbish collections are the most visible service that people get for their £120 a month council tax bill. People deserve a comprehensive weekly service in return for their taxes.
"We have exposed 10 false fictions from fortnightly bin barons they cling to as excuses for cutting services. If councils adopt this new guide as their 'bin bible', they will be able to save taxpayers' money and still increase the frequency and quality of rubbish and recycling collections."
"Across Britain, there is a clear choice on offer," he added.
"The Government in England is standing up for weekly collections; by contrast, the administrations in Wales and Scotland are moving towards monthly collections."
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has published a 'bin bible' in a bid to encourage councils scrap "barmy" fortnightly bin collections.
The new guidance for local authorities exposes the claims made by "bin barons" to justify making cuts to services in England, the Conservative Cabinet Minister said.
Mr Pickles has made weekly bin collections one of his top priorities for local government but critics have branded him a "philistine", claiming he has put money for bins ahead of funding for libraries and museums.
The brochure says it is a "clear myth" that councils cannot improve recycling rates without introducing fortnightly collections, setting out how a number of authorities have managed to recycle over half of all rubbish while maintaining weekly pick-ups.
It also dismisses suggestions that the only way to save money is to extend collection times, insisting that "innovative solutions" mean councils can protect weekly collections at little or no extra cost.