YORKSHIRE trade unionists demanded a public inquiry yesterday into the Tory government’s culpability for the devastation caused by December’s floods.
The annual meeting of Yorkshire and Humberside regionof the Trade Union Congress (TUC) heard how government cuts to funding for flood defences were to blame for much of the damage caused on December 26.
Delegate Wendy Nichols from public service union Unison told the meeting that the government had slashed funding to the Environment Agency which has responsibility for managing Britain’s rivers.
“The scale of the cuts left Yorkshire vulnerable,” she said.
The region has been hit repeatedly by cuts since 2000. Local authorities and the Environment Agency responded by drawing up plans to improve flood defences.
But the government provided only a fraction of the funds needed to implement the plans.
Calder Valley needed £35 million but received just £2m, delegates heard.
And Leeds, which suffered its worst floods in living memory, had drawn up plans for upgrading defences following floods in 2010 — but the government agreed to fund only part of them.
As a result a section of the Aire Valley running through the city was devastated.
Ms Nichols said: “The Tories do not care for the well-being of British cities which do not vote Tory. We want resources similar to those provided for London and south-east England.
“David Cameron seems to think we will forget until the next time.”
The meeting gave unanimous support to the call for a public inquiry.