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Unlock EU Cash To Rebuild Cumbria - Farron

December 18, 2015 10:49 AM

The government's desire to appease Tory backbenchers is depriving flooded Cumbrians of funds, Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has said today as he urges people to sign his petition calling on the government to apply for EU funding.

Tim has repeatedly called on the government to apply for EU Solidarity Funding to help deal with the aftermath of the recent floods, both in speeches in parliament and in a letter to the Prime Minister. EU Solidarity Funding exists to help member states struck by major natural disasters, but the government must apply within twelve weeks of when the disaster first hit.

The government has still not given any indication that it will apply for these funds, despite the fact that this could provide millions of pounds for Cumbria. Tim said that the government is reluctant to ask for EU funds due to the "Eurosceptic obsession" of certain Tory backbenchers.

The UK would be eligible for a grant worth up to 2.5% of total damage in Cumbria, which has been estimated by Price Waterhouse Cooper at £500m. Cumbria would therefore be eligible for up to £12.5m of EU funds, of which £1.25m would be made available immediately as an advance payment.

Following severe floods in 2007, the UK received a grant of around £134 million to help deal with the costs of this incident and to rebuild infrastructure.

Tim has set up an online petition calling on the government to apply for EU Solidarity Funding. To back this campaign and sign the petition click here.

Tim said: "It is shocking that the UK government has not applied for EU Solidarity Funding. The government's desire to appease eurosceptic backbenchers is depriving Cumbrians of desperately-needed funds. We pay into this fund, so we should apply for it and get the benefits.

"Cumbria needs all the funding it can get to help with the costs of the clean-up operation and to rebuild local infrastructure, so it is utterly illogical that we are missing out on this EU funding. The government will be selling local people short if it doesn't apply for this money."