YCL Statement on flooding crisis

The Executive Committee of the Youth Communist League has released the following statement on the recent flooding crisis and the criminal response of Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

In recent weeks working class and rural communities across Britain have faced the worst flooding in decades. For many this is the second or third episode of flooding in recent memory.

Entire towns and villages have been swallowed up by rivers breaking their banks. Farming communities and livestock have been hammered. Flood defences have barely coped. The response of the Tory Government has been non-existent.

This crisis has been caused and exacerbated by a decade of Tory mismanagement and austerity. The past decade has seen severe underfunding of all public services, including on the Environment Agency and flood defences.

Despite the risk of flooding increasing across Britain, spending on flood defences has stagnated and failed to keep pace under the ConDem Coalition Government and the May and Johnson Tory administrations. Spending is heavily focused on London and the South East which accounts for 60% of central government spending. Staffing levels at the Environment Agency have been cut by almost 20%.

Just 1.5% of infrastructure spending in the new budget is set to go towards flood defence, and of this one third is set to go to the South East of England alone, leaving Yorkshire, the North East, and the West Midlands, where flood defences have barely held in the most recent episode of flooding with scores of communities devasted, in a perilous position.

Climate change, in addition to being an existential threat to humanity, has significantly increased the risk of flooding across Britain. The fact that the worst storms and flooding in decades, and in some places centuries have occurred twice in the space of a few years is not a coincidence. It is part of a wider trend of extreme weather caused by climate change.

Capitalism and Britain’s ruling class have proven themselves unable and unwilling to address the unfolding climate catastrophe. This Tory government have done nothing to address the floods hitting communities across Britain. Boris Johnson has failed to show leadership or visit affected areas. These trends represent a real threat to the lives and wellbeing of the youth and working people inf affected communities.

Britain’s communists demand:

  • Financial relief for communities affected by flooding.
  • Investment in flood defences and the Environment Agency and a new comprehensive flood prevention plan for England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
  • Increased efforts to tackle climate change and a green industrial revolution.
  • The establishment of a publicly owned scheme to provide flood insurance and new legislation to force private insurance companies to provide cover at a fixed, low costs.
  • Financial and educational support for young workers and students affected by flooding.

We need system change, not climate change!

Our communities will not be drowned!

Executive Committee
Young Communist League

21 February 2020
London, Britain