Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:19 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee 2:19 pm, 4th March 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. He and I, and Philip Dunne have today written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to make exactly these points. Flood Re, although incredibly welcome, is of no use to small business owners who are particularly badly affected in my constituency. I know that the Government are reviewing the Flood Re scheme, but this is a matter of urgency now. Businesses did return to Kirkstall and Burley after the floods in 2015, but they might not return quite so quickly next time, because the flood premiums will go up again—and also, frankly, because they believed the promises in 2016 that the flood defences would be built. They have not been built, and I think that would change some of the business decisions. So, urgently, let us get the flood defences, but let us also ensure that businesses can get insurance.

Climate change is only going to make these matters worse and more pressing. We know that water levels are rising. We know that ice caps are melting. We know that our weather is becoming more unpredictable, as my hon. Friend Jonathan Reynolds pointed out. So in future we will need to be better protected and better prepared for floods. That is all that people in Leeds are asking for. We are asking to be better protected and better prepared, because it is a case of when and not if we get flooding in Leeds again. We have done everything we can in Leeds to ensure that we get the flood defences we need. We now look to the Government to come up with that £23 million to ensure that we do level up the flood defence spending so that the people of Kirkstall and Burley get the flood defences we need. That can only happen if the Government deliver on their promises.