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Hertfordshire Lib Dems Protest Against Flooding Funding Cut by the Government

February 21, 2021 10:34 PM
Originally published by West Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats

Hertfordshire County Council officers have today confirmed to Liberal Democrat county councillors that the Government has cut direct grant funding for the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), the body responsible for sorting out surface water flooding across the county.
Flooding on Bullens Green Lane
In Hertfordshire the role of Lead Local Flood Authority is filled by the County Council itself. A small team of professionals was set up within HCC 6 years ago with resources and funding to finance its activities. Since then funding has been continuously as the LLFA Grant. This has enabled the team to build up expertise and carried out minor improvements and small flood management works - though any large schemes would need specific grants to have them carried out.

However, last week county officers confirmed that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) had 'rolled in' the previously separate LLFA grant into the Revenue Support Grant (RSG), a general pot. When asked, officers confirmed the RSG was... precisely the same value as before. Arithmetical logic shows that this is a serious funding cut, because in order to maintain its flood management work, the county council will have to cut funding from other equally hard pressed budgets and put other equally essential services at risk.

Paul Zukowskyj, Shadow Deputy Leader of the Council and the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Resources, commented:
"The Government have, with barely concealed contempt, cut funding that was supposed to prevent flooding of homes and businesses. In the middle of a really wet winter, when reports of floods are 'flooding' in, this is a slap in the face to those struggling to cope and will load even more demand onto our stretched emergency services who will have to pick up the pieces.

"Cutting the funding is short-changing our residents. It's short-changing the future. I thought there was little this train-wreck of a government could do to surprise me, but they have outdone themselves on this one."