An urgent call for funding to help protect homes and businesses in a coastal town from flooding in the future has been made ahead of this week's Budget.

Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Lowestoft, Jess Asato, has written to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, calling on him to "prioritise funding for Lowestoft’s flood barrier and coastal defences for residents and businesses in Pakefield."

It comes as East Suffolk Council was forced to halt the final phase of the Lowestoft Flood Protection scheme in January after costs soared and a £124m funding gap emerged in construction of the tidal flood barrier.

In a letter to the Chancellor, ahead of the Budget, Jess Asato said: "We suffered significant flooding damage in 2013, and if the same happened today, it would be at a cost of £168m - far more than the £124m funding required to enable the project to continue.

"This funding is not just about protecting what currently exists, it would unleash the much-needed regeneration of previously industrial brownfield sites with new businesses and much needed new homes.

"With flooding predicted every 20 years, Lowestoft's residents and businesses can't afford to wait any longer.

"This project has been 10 years in the waiting. Every day's delay represents a cost to the taxpayer.

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"Finally I would also ask you to consider the need for emergency coastal protection funding in Lowestoft to prevent a significant section of cliff-edge in Pakefield from falling into the sea.

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"Without remediation, this section of coast is likely to erode further, fast, threatening people's homes which are now only a few metres from the cliff edge."

At the time of the funding announcement, Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: "It is to be hoped that a way forward can be found for work to resume in the near future, and I continue to make the case to Government so that this can happen."

A petition calling for the Conservative Government to fund the Lowestoft flood barrier can be signed online.