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Flood resilience measures set to be scrapped as government slashes funds

January 24, 2017 1:54 PM

Vital plans to upgrade Cumbria's infrastructure to make it more flood resilient are set to be shelved following the government's decision to award Cumbria only a fraction of the funds it had expected. South Cumbria MP Tim Farron has slammed the decision as "a kick in the teeth for local people who suffered under last year's floods".

Cumbria's Local Enterprise Partnership had submitted a detailed bid worth £165 million to the government. However, in a letter to Tim sent yesterday, Sajid Javid MP the Communities and Local Government Minister revealed that Cumbria has only been given £12.7 million - less than 10% of what had been expected.

The LEP's original bid had included a £25 million flood resilience programme. This would have paid for upgrades to key infrastructure such as roads and bridges. This programme would have increased protection for 3,300 homes and businesses, and helped to safeguard 11,000 jobs.

The government's decision also means that plans to support the agri-food sector will not receive funding. This includes a proposal to build a new Dairy Processing Facility in Cumbria which would have created 300 new jobs. It had been due to get just over £15million.

Tim said: "The government talks the talk about the Northern Powerhouse, yet when it comes to it they have turned down over 90% of our funding bids. These projects would have helped to boost the local economy, providing jobs and growth in our area.

"The decision not to provide funding for the flood resilience programme is particularly short-sighted. Politicians in Westminster might have forgotten the destruction that last winter's floods caused, but local people certainly have not. This is a real kick in the teeth for local people who suffered under last year's floods.

"The decision to pull funding for the Dairy Processing Plant is yet another example of the government overlooking rural areas.

"This Conservative government is neglecting our county. It should be choosing to support growth in Cumbria. Instead, it has made a token gesture."