The prime minister has said that “money is no object” in terms of the government helping areas of the UK currently being severely hit by extreme weather conditions.
David Cameron announced the government’s plans at a press conference on Tuesday evening. He added that 1,600 servicemen and women from the armed forces will be deployed to help devastated communities.
He also said that £10m was being set aside to assist farmers recover from the devastation of their land.
“Money is no object in this relief effort, whatever money is needed for it will be spent. We will take whatever steps are necessary”, Cameron said.
“I will continue to lead the national response by chairing meetings of the government’s emergency committee Cobra.”
The announcement was welcomed by environmental campaign groups – the same groups that place much of the blame on environment secretary Owen Paterson, who is currently absent from his post while he recovers from eye surgery.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace in the UK, said, “The prime minister has made the right decision to provide unlimited funds to help the victims of the present flooding and accepts that climate change is a serious threat.
“But he can have no credibility while he leaves the climate change denier environment secretary Owen Paterson in charge of dealing with the government’s response to the problem.”
He added, “Owen Paterson has ignored his advisers on extreme weather, slashing in half the budget for preparing the nation for the impacts of climate change and firing hundreds of staff who were working on flood defence”.
Other groups however, were quick to criticise the prime minister, saying that spending on flood defences has been dramatically cut in recent years.
Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said, “If ‘money is no object’, then the prime minister should have no problem making up the £500m shortfall in flood defence investment required to keep pace with climate change.
“David Cameron can’t claim he’s doing all he can to protect people, businesses and farmers from flooding while the government continues to pander to fossil fuel companies and his climate-sceptic environment secretary remains in his post.”