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Workington MP shames Government into acting on council flood funding

Sue Hayman MP
Sue Hayman MP

[S]ue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington and Shadow Minister for Flooding, has welcomed the news that, following her question to DEFRA ministers last week on flood funding owed to Allerdale Borough Council, the government will be paying out the money under the Bellwin Scheme immediately.

At Questions to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sue asked the Minister: “The damage caused by storms last winter cost about £5 billion. Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded and there was significant damage to roads and bridges.

“The then Prime Minister said that “money is no object”, but councils are still waiting. Allerdale, for example, is owed almost £220,000.

“How many councils are still waiting for the promised funds, and why?”

The Floods Minister, Therese Coffey, responded: “I welcome the hon. Lady to her place. We both represent coastal communities and we share the issue of flooding. She raises an important point.

“She will be aware of the Government’s commitment to spend £2.5 billion over six years, which has given the Environment Agency long-term funding.

“I will have to ask my hon. Friends in the Department for Communities and Local Government about her specific point on the recovery work and then write to her, but we are continuing to invest in such schemes, including in Cumbria, as she will be aware.”

Within 24 hours, the Department for Communities and Local Government had been in touch with Allerdale Borough Council to let them know that they will receive payment under the Bellwin Scheme as contribution to costs of the floods on October 18th.

In response, Sue said: “I warmly welcome this news – though it shouldn’t take a local MP raising individual cases at the despatch box for our local councils to be paid the money that they are owed and have been promised by Government.

“It’s nearly a year on from last winter’s floods and the recovery is still ongoing. Communities like ours desperately need these funds to ensure that people can get on with their lives and so that repairs and preparations can be made in time for this coming winter.

“In my new role as Shadow Minister for Flooding and Coastal Communities, I’m going to continue to ensure that Government works quickly to provide flooded communities with the resources they need. People in West Cumbria need flood defences and infrastructure repairs, not empty promises.”

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