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Government "Dragging Its Feet" Over EU Fund Application - Farron

June 9, 2016 3:03 PM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has accused the government of "dragging its feet" over applying for EU funds following this winter's devastating floods. Flood-hit areas in the north of England could be eligible for up to £125million.

In a damning report by the Environmental Audit Committee released today, the government's lack of long-term flood strategy was criticised. According to the report "the Government is continuing to take a reactive rather than proactive approach to funding flood risk management". It called on the government to "adopt a more strategic approach to funding flood risk management which avoids… fluctuations in funding." The committee has said it is "sceptical that the Government will reach its target of protecting 300,000 properties".

Cumbria was one of the worst-hit areas during the recent floods. Tim's successful campaign to secure funding for a flood defence scheme in Kendal led to the announcement of up to £24million for a flood defence scheme in Kendal. However, across the county, there is still a £40million shortfall in the money needed to cover flood damage.

Despite the urgent need for more funds, the government has still not completed its application for EU Solidarity Funding. This funding provides support for member states which have been hit by natural disasters. The EU's Solidarity Fund could provide up to £125 million to help rebuild communities devastated by Storm Desmond last winter, of which 10% would be made available immediately.

Tim said: "The Government has not done enough to deal with flooding. This is frankly a national scandal. Whole communities have been left to clear up the mess and deal with the rebuild. Bridges are still broken, infrastructure not fixed and people still out of their homes.

"Yet ministers are dragging their feet and have still not completed the final application for vital European flood relief funding. The EU's Solidarity Fund could provide up to £125 million to help rebuild communities devastated by Storm Desmond and this is money we desperately need.

"This Government has failed the north. Instead of taking the opportunity to show how being in the EU could benefit flood victims, the government has tried to brush this under the carpet."