Flood Defences (Leeds)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 27th January 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Labour, Leeds West 7:15 pm, 27th January 2016

The hon. Gentleman speaks with great authority and knowledge because of the flooding that he has seen on many occasions in his constituency. Again, I agree that we need to take a whole catchment area approach. It is now more than a month since those floods happened, and we do need those feasibility studies to be quickly carried out, so that we are protected in the future.

In his letter to the Chancellor this week, Gerald Jennings of the Leeds chambers of commerce said:

“As the engine room of the Yorkshire economy, Leeds already plays a major role in driving forward economic prosperity; we have seen significant private sector investment over the last 25 years. The city has created jobs in large numbers as a consequence, which have benefited the entire city region. Without further investment in flood defences, businesses may be forced to reconsider their own investment plans and the ability to attract new investment will be curtailed.”

People’s homes, jobs and livelihoods are at stake, and so too are communities, local economies and the future of the northern powerhouse. The community played its part in the immediate aftermath of the floods, clearing up, rebuilding and repairing, but now the Government must do their part, too. They must ensure that there is affordable and available flood insurance; that financial support is available to those most affected; and that they build the flood defences that our city so desperately needs. To fail to do so will let down the people who turn to Government to harness our collective effort. Let us build the northern powerhouse—let us not sink it before it has a chance even to set sail.