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Environment Secretary expected to lose his job in cabinet reshuffle

Owen Paterson MP visiting Northmoor Pumping Station in January Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to lose his job in David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle.

The Conservative minister came under intense pressure, following his handling of the flooding on the Somerset levels, and also received criticism for the horsemeat scandal and unsuccessful badger culls. Meanwhile, North Somerset MP Liam Fox is tipped to make a return to the front benches.

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Appeal for pledges after success of farm aid campaign

The NFU say they cannot accept anymore supplies Credit: ITV News West Country

The National Farmers Union are asking for people to make pledges rather than send supplies to help farmers on the flooded Somerset Levels.

After the great success of a social media campaign - known as Forage Aid - appealing for forage and bedding, the NFU say the immediate needs of farmers have been met and no more supplies can be accepted.

Instead, they're now asking people to pledge offers of help.

Melanie Squires from the NFU said "What we need now are pledges of fodder and straw or financial donations rather than actual deliveries, so that we can call upon people’s generosity as and when it is required over the coming weeks and months, when the waters finally abate."

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Farage: Aid spending should be diverted for UK flooding

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said that Britain's spending on foreign aid should be diverted to help deal with the flooding crisis in the UK.

He said: "Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that a government's primary duty is to the well-being of its own citizens."

Describing the government's response as "both lethargic and inadequate," he said people "would be forgiven for thinking that ... ordinary British families are not their priority."

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Govt commits to protecting 42,000 homes from floods

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.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles leaves a Cobra meeting at the Cabinet Office in London Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

"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.

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Govt pledges to defend 'town and country' from floods

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles Credit: PA Wire

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has taken charge of the government's response to flooding, has pledged to "defend both town and country" from the devastating effects of flooding on communities.

"Looking further forward we have made an unprecedented long term commitment of six years of capital investment in improving defences," said Pickles.

The government will carry out a rapid review of the additional work needed to restore flood defences and maintain them in target condition, Pickles explained, adding that 42 new flood defence schemes have been launched.

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