In Brief

Flood defences: £2.3bn fund will protect 300,000 homes

Labour says government flooding investment is just a re-announcement of funding confirmed last year

Around 300,000 homes in the UK will be given better protection from flooding as part of a six-year flood defence programme to be outlined today.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is due to give details on £2.3bn of funding for 1,400 projects across the country to help prevent £30bn of economic damage.

The spending includes £80m for the Humber Estuary and £196m for the Thames Estuary.

Government will also commit to spending £15.5m in Somerset on flood defences over the next six years, benefitting 7,000 properties. This will include £4.2m on the Somerset Levels and moors, which were hit badly by flooding last winter.

"We all saw the destruction and heartache caused by flooding last year and that is why this investment is vital to build up Britain's defences for the future," said Alexander.

But Labour has already pointed out that the £2.3bn investment is not new money.

Maria Eagle, shadow environment secretary, told the BBC: "Communities at risk of flooding won't buy government spin on what is simply a re-announcement of capital funding confirmed a year ago.

"This is not new money – at the beginning of this parliament David Cameron cut the flood protection budget by over a £100m a year. As a result we are playing catch-up on flood defences."

Alexander is due to announce the flood measures as part of the government's 2014 national infrastructure plan, which is also expected to include increased spending on social housing and exploratory talks for the first lagoon power project.

The latter scheme would involve a six-mile wall around Swansea Bay, creating a lagoon in the Bristol channel with turbines to harness the incoming and outgoing tides and generate power 14 hours a day, reports The Guardian.

Alexander's announcement comes a day after government guaranteed £15bn of spending towards a roads programme.

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