Of course, the most important chart for this particular episode is not one showing Defra spending but the one showing average rainfall. Nevertheless, I find the story of flood defences indicative of the coalition government’s approach to public spending.

Here, as in other areas, it seeks to make up central government shortfalls with local or private spending. This might be a perfectly sensible or unfortunately necessary idea but it is disingenuous to present it as increased government spending. Flood defence spending also looks like a good case of a missed chance for public investment. Read more