UK Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to review government spending on flood defences after parts of the country have suffered the worst flooding for 70 years. Hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to evacuate residents and help emergency services in the north of England.

Local authorities have said around 500 properties were flooded in the historic city of York, and 2,000 homes and 400 businesses in Leeds. Flood defences have been bolstered in recent years, but that has not been enough to prevent some residents of northern England from having their homes flooded time and again this month.

Cameron, who visited York on 28 December to meet with volunteers and soldiers tackling major flooding in the city, said that in the wake of the latest deluge Britain's flood defences would be reviewed.

"We're spending more in this parliament than the last one and in the last parliament, we spent more than the one before that. But of course after any of these events we should look at what we're planning to build, what we're planning to spend and think well, do we need to do more? We're going to be spending £2.3 billion on flood defences in this parliament but we'll look carefully at what's happened here and see what more can be done," he said.

Cameron added that in the county of Yorkshire, the government had spent £100m ($149m) in the past five years and is planning to spend three times as much in response to the current flooding.

The UK's Environment Agency had issued some 63 flood warnings on 28 December, mainly in the north-east and north-west of England, nine of them severe indicating a danger to life.