First Minister accused of ‘ignorant’ and ‘lazy’ response to flooding concerns

Flooding damage at Llandysul, where the Teifi river burst its banks

The First Minister has been accused of an “ignorant” and “lazy” response to questions about the weekend’s flooding.

During today’s First Minister’s questions, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM highlighted Welsh Government cuts to flood defence spending.

He said that the Welsh Government had slashed spending on flood defences between 2015/16 and 2016/17 by almost 50% – from £18 million to £9.5 million.

Floods hit communities across Wales over the weekend, and Corey Sharpling, 21, from Newcastle Emlyn was killed in a landslide in Cwmduad.

“Will you now apologise to those homes and businesses for the devastation and havoc that have been caused because of the cuts we’ve seen to NRW’s budget over the years?” Paul Davies asked.

Carwyn Jones said that the Conservative party had cut the amount of money spent on flood defences in England “very, very sharply indeed”.

“Does he know how many flooding events there have been in England over the years?” the First Minister asked.

“There are some things that are very difficult to prevent. We are not in a position where we can prevent every single flood, despite the weather, and what we saw over the weekend was an extreme weather event.

“Yes, of course, we take responsibility in devolved areas, but perhaps he might want to take some responsibility and say to his colleagues in London, ‘Enough is enough—let’s end austerity; give Wales the money that it deserves’.”

Further flood damage in Llandysul

Speaking outside the chamber, Paul Davies said that the First Minister was “unaccountable” and “ignorant of all responsibility”.

“It’s so easy for the Welsh Government to blame its failings on the UK Government and ‘unpreventable’ weather, but the buck has to stop here,” he said.

“The people and businesses that have lost their livelihoods to the flooding won’t accept the classic ‘whataboutery’ as an excuse.

“This was a lazy response from a First Minister who no longer cares for the damage that his Government is causing.”

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