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Government finally bows to pressure from Tim Farron on EU flooding help

February 29, 2016 12:00 PM
In Lib Dem Voice

At around 50 minutes to the 11th hour, the Government finally agreed to Tim Farron's request that they apply for EU funding to help with the aftermath of the flooding that hit Cumbria and other areas of Northern England as a result of Storm Desmond on 5 December. The EU Solidarity Fund is there to help out when natural disaster strikes.

Accountancy firm KPMG has estimated the total cost of the flood damage at £5bn, which means that the UK could be eligible for up to £125 million of, of which 10% would be made available immediately. In 2008, the UKreceived £134 million from the fund to help deal with the aftermath of major floods the previous year.

In order to qualify the Government must apply within 12 weeks of when the natural disaster first hit. As Storm Desmond struck Northern England on 5th December, the deadline to apply is Saturday 27th February.

A week ago, Tim Farron handed over a petition signed by 2063 constituents calling for a grant for the EU Solidarity Fund to MEPs from the Regional Committee, which would have to approve any application.

And today, the Government has finally agreed to apply for the money.

Tim said:

"Since day one I have called on the government to apply for this funding to help the North and parts of Scotland get back on their feet. It is an utter farce that it took the government until the eleventh hour, when we were about to lose this vital cash, for them to finally decide to send a letter and ask for the £125 million.

"The Tories have dragged their feet and shown what they really think of the 'Northern Powerhouse' it's just a nice phrase. They don't seem to mean it.

"This money is desperately needed to help flood-hit areas rebuild infrastructure and repair damage following the devastating impact of the floods.

"Local people have shown overwhelming support in favour of applying for this money, and I am glad that the government has finally listened.

"Having to drag James Wharton, the Brexiter, to the Commons to announce that the government will apply for EU funding, and that it will really make a difference to our communities, was a nice final touch of irony."