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Government pledges £3million of additional funding for local authorities impacted by Internal Drainage Board (IDB) levies.

Internal Drainage Board group welcomes commitment to implement long-term funding solution.

Fen drain in winter

On Wednesday 24 January 2024, the Government pledged its commitment to implementing a long-term solution to the way Internal Drainage Boards are funded.

In response to a written question, the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, made the following statement:

"Last year we provided one-off funding to local authorities struggling with Internal Drainage Board levies. We have listened to authorities who continue to face sustained increases in these levies. We will again provide £3 million outside of the Settlement to support those experiencing the biggest pressures. We will work with the sector and the Department for the Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs to implement a long-term solution."

Cllr Paul Redgate, chairman of the Local Government Association Special Interest Group - Internal Drainage Board levies said: "The SIG councils are grateful to the Secretary of State for listening and recognising the serious impact the Internal Drainage Board (IDBs) levies are having on our councils. We welcome the commitment to address this long-standing issue and we look forward to progressing conversations further with Government. 

"As a group of 29 councils all affected in some way by IDB levies, we have been working in partnership to collectively lobby the Government for a fairer and more sustainable way to fund the important work of Internal Drainage Boards without impacting on the council's ability to afford services.  We will continue our effort until a formal agreed, long-term resolution is secured.

"There is no doubt the operations of IDBs are vital for our communities in reducing flood risk and maintaining water levels to reduce the impact of flooding. The IDB levy imposed by the Government - has reached unprecedented levels, leaving these councils in a precarious and unfair position with no choice but to put Council Tax up and consider cuts to services to fund these increases."

"The cost is one that SIG councils simply can no longer afford.

"The SIG is also grateful to the Government for awarding an additional £3m funding this year to the Councils most impacted by the levies. We await confirmation of the funding allocations."

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