Council tax may rise to aid flood defences

Following the storm that affected much of the United States at the weekend, the Met Office has warned that parts of the UK should prepare for more heavy rainfall and possible flooding as it makes its way across the Atlantic.

Over a dozen flood warnings remain in place, with areas such as Glenridding in Cumbria already struggling with copious rainfall and flooding.

The Environment Agency has left flood warnings in place, and Environment Secretary Liz Truss has disclosed that councils will have the ability to increase council tax bills by around £15 a year to pay for new flood defences.

Referring to a scheme already in place in Somerset, Truss told a committee of MPs that it has proved a ‘very good model’ and offered her support to such initiatives.

However, the Somerset Plan has not gained support from everyone - least of all the tax payers who may see a £15 increase on their average bill.

Labour peer Lord Clark of Windermere told the Daily Telegraph.: “Flood defences are primarily a national responsibility and the Government shouldn't just pass the buck on to local authorities and in turn to local taxpayers.”

The budget for maintaining flood defences is £171 million for this year and is "protected in real terms" over the course of the Parliament, which means it will rise in line with inflation.