Original figures included partnership funding from local authorities of £148m
The government has come under fire after floods minister Dan Rogerson admitted “some minor inconsistencies” in figures on flood defence spending, adding that they have now been “rectified”, the BBC reports.
The government had claimed that the coalition was spending a record amount of money on flood defences, but the amount will only reach that level if partnership funding from local councils is included in the total.
Rogerson said in a statement: “Floods funding is complex, with a number of different income streams including government funding, local levies, and other contributions towards schemes.
“Further analysis has identified some minor inconsistencies in figures previously provided. I regret this was not presented in a consistent way, something I have now rectified.”
The revised figures show that, without the partnership funding, the government is spending £2.3bn on flood defences over the period 2011–15, compared with the £2.4bn spent in 2007–11.
Shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle said: “It is humiliating for David Cameron and Owen Paterson that they have finally been forced to reveal that spending on flood protection was not protected when cuts to the Environment dtepartment’s budget were made.
“The prime minister must now stop repeating his misleading claim that more is being spent when these new figures reveal that is simply not true.”
The inconsistency was spotted by Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole.
Shrubsole told the BBC: “The new figures raise difficult questions about the misleading information that the prime minister and environment secretary have provided to soothe both parliament and the public.
“With millions of homes and business at risk from flooding, they need to increase the budget and tackle the causes of climate change, which increases the likelihood of more flooding.”
Labour has called the government’s clarification “humiliating”.