Brown raises concerns about flood management cuts and business grant delivery

Alliance South Down MLA Patrick Brown has expressed concern regarding recent figures from the Department for Infrastructure, which showed a cut of over 60% in flood management funding in the 23/34 financial year.

Infrastructure Patrick Brown Flooding

He also raised concerns over how the £100k flood recovery grant scheme for businesses is due to be rolled out.


Speaking after an Infrastructure Committee meeting on Wednesday (20 March), Mr Brown said: “I was highly alarmed to find out that, as a result of budgetary pressures emanating from the lack of an Executive, senior DfI officials decided to cut flood management services in the 23/24 year by over 60% - a reduction of £3.7m.


“Whilst I understand the difficult context these decisions were made in, I think it is highly concerning that flood management was cut to such a high degree compared to other areas. Whilst no cuts to essential public services are positive, questions must be asked as to why flood management faced such a disproportionate cut, and whether this reduction in spend contributed to the scale of the impact felt as a result of flooding across NI last Halloween.


“I appreciate the rainfall last year was unprecedented, however the question remains as to how this funding cut impacted on flood preparedness, prevention, and response. For example, we know that no businesses in Newry and Downpatrick were given any prior warning by any public body that flooding was likely.

"We also understand there have been concerns about the £100k flood recovery grant payments being made in arrears by local councils, which could present challenges for smaller businesses, who are still financially recovering, being able to cashflow purchases. We must help enable residents and businesses to bounce back as quickly as possible, and our Downpatrick DEA Councillor Cadogan Enright has raised these concerns with Newry, Mourne and Down Council."