Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions
Caroline Spelman (Secretary of State, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Meriden, Conservative)
My hon. Friend is right that the capacity to forecast has improved. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs gives the Flood Forecasting Centre £2.9 million per annum, which continues the funding position from before we came into government. The accuracy of the forecasting means that we can give communities vital hours in which to give advice to home owners on how to protect themselves and their possessions. I suggest that communities that face flooding regularly, which substantial parts of Cornwall do, consider technical provisions, such as text messaging, backed up by flood wardens who knock on doors personally. I saw people in Sussex resist moving even when all the advice had been given to them. There is no substitute for the human touch.