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DOWNING STREET defended Boris Johnson’s failure to visit flood-hit areas today as a series of new weather warnings were issued across Britain.
The PM has come under fire in recent weeks for failing to visit communities up and down Britain.
This position is in stark contrast to his visibility during the last floods that took place during the general election.
A government spokesman insisted that focusing on Mr Johnson’s absence was a “distraction” from the issue.
“The government has extensive plans in place to deal with these kinds of extreme weather events and we are working tirelessly to help everyone affected,” he said.
Asked whether No 10 was concerned that the PM’s absence suggested he did not care, the spokesman said Mr Johnson was “receiving regular updates” while in his 115-room Chevening mansion.
In the Commons today Environment Secretary George Eustice continued to defend the government’s response to flooding.
He claimed that investment made in recent years has “significantly improved our resilience but there is much more to do.
“We are investing £2.6 billion in flood defences — over 1,000 flood defences schemes — to better protect 300,000 homes by 2021,” he said.
Chris Byrant, Labour MP for Rhonda, an area hit badly by flooding, said: “Many people in very poor communities do not have insurance because they have to choose between insurance and putting food on the table, so they have lost every single penny that they had.
“We have a massive bill for local authorities of £30 million on flood defences. That is twice the capital allocation funding for the whole council for a year.
“We don’t need talk of mutual aid, we need money from the government and we need it now.”
In response to the flooding, 22 Welsh MPs sent a letter today to Mr Johnson calling for the government to “provide ongoing support.”
They also urged the PM to consider giving funds to the Welsh government after it announced that it will be giving households affected by the floods £500.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The UK government also has a role in responding to these floods and a responsibility to the people of Wales.
“After a week of silence in the face of this emergency, we urgently need to hear what longer-term support communities can expect from the UK government.”
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