I offer my sympathy to all those who have been affected and my praise to all those who have played such a significant role in trying to ensure that everyone is safe. On a visit to North Yorkshire, I saw at first hand the damage that flowing water can do in the small gullies that, under normal circumstances, hold virtually no water, and to the small rural communities whose houses dot the side of the gullies. Huge stones and mud ripped down the hillside, undermining the homes. Who do these people go to in order get that fixed and ensure that in years to come their homes are literally not swept off the hill?
It is crucial that we support rural communities as part of our programme to improve flood defences. We have seen on our television screens in recent days the potentially devastating impacts of severe weather. No system can protect everyone in all circumstances, but flood defences will be an important part of our agenda to level up all parts of the country, including rural areas.