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Labour attack Government’s ‘legacy of failure’ on flood prevention in Scotland

Labour accused the Scottish Government of leaving communities ‘vulnerable’ to flooding by not investing promised cash in prevention work (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Labour accused the Scottish Government of leaving communities ‘vulnerable’ to flooding by not investing promised cash in prevention work (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A “legacy of failure” from the Scottish Government on flood prevention work has left communities “vulnerable”, Labour claimed, with only a fifth of a promised £150 million spent on protection.

Labour net zero spokeswoman Sarah Boyack accused ministers of having “sought to dodge responsibility” on the issue.

Labour said that while the government had pledged an extra £150 million for flood prevention work back in 2020, so far only £31 million had been spent.

The party added that this meant more than  half way through the planned five year funding programme, 80% per cent of the promised budget had not been committed.

It also accused the government of failing to comply with legal obligations to report on progress on flood-risk management on an annual basis, with the 2009 Flood Risk Management Act requiring this to be done “as soon as practicable after the end of each calendar”.

However Labour said ministers had not fulfilled this obligation since 2020.

Ms Boyack said: “The SNP’s legacy of failure on flood prevention has left Scotland vulnerable to the devastation we have seen in recent months.

“Communities have been hung out to dry by an SNP government that has sought to dodge responsibility at every turn.

“Scotland is facing an onslaught of floods without the necessary funding in place and with no up to date indication of how prepared we really are.”

The Labour MSP added: “This situation is simply untenable.

“With the risk of flooding increasing year on year, we desperately need a proper plan coupled with the promised funding to prevent flood chaos becoming a regular fixture.”

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan stressed the government had committed £150 million of funding for flood resilience over the course of this Parliament (Jane Barlow/PA)

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan responded: “This year’s extreme weather events, such as the devastating Storm Babet, have underlined the need to think strategically about Scotland’s flooding future.

“It is imperative that we do all we can to become flood resilient in a changing climate, including the potential impacts of sea level rise.

“That’s why we have committed an additional £150 million over the course of this Parliament to deliver improved flood resilience.

“This is in addition to the £42 million we provide annually to councils for flood resilience through the general capital grant.

“And, looking to the future, we’re developing a new flood resilience strategy for Scotland with communities at its heart.”