The old adage of ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’ must surely be ringing in the Government’s ears this week.
As the tireless workers at the Environment Agency go into battle once more this weekend in 100 areas at risk of flooding, the dark skies overhead won’t be the only clouds they’ll be under.
In a tragic case of déjà vu, the government has announced it is slashing a further 1500 jobs from the Environment Agency.
Has it learned nothing? Two years ago when 2000 jobs were cut from the Agency, the Government suffered the embarrassment of being forced to bring workers back to do their old jobs. But rather than admitting mistakes and learning from them, here we go again.
The Environment Agency protects millions of homes from flooding by building flood defences and warning communities of danger. It is simply reckless to play Russian roulette with the lives of millions of people by cutting jobs just for the sake of it.
In a classic case of hypocrisy last week, the Prime Minister had the audacity to congratulate the sterling work of Environment Agency workers, on the same day that it was revealed that many of those workers will lose their jobs this year. He then claimed that extra money was being invested, which is simply untrue.
The government cut the Agency’s budget by 27% in its first year in office and the current level of funding is barely enough to stand still. The storms over the past year have shown us that the weather is changing.
Rather than misleading the public by suggesting extra money is being spent, the government should be investing in the highly skilled workforce that is responsible for maintaining the country’s coastal defences.
As pressure mounts to build more homes in flood risk areas, it should be looking at strengthening coastal defences and preparing for future disasters.
People may forgive one bad decision, but making the same mistake again is just plain daft.
And when the mistake you’re making is putting millions of homes and businesses in peril, the consequences could be dire.