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Flooded communities should get flood fund cash - Lib Dems

February 10, 2017 1:19 PM

A letter sent by a Conservative minister to South Cumbrian MP Tim Farron has confirmed that flood-hit communities across Cumbria will not receive a penny extra from a £15 million fund given by the EU following last winter's floods. Tim has branded the decision a "disgraceful betrayal" of local communities.

Tim had raised the issue of the funds in the House of Commons, and the Conservative Leader of the House promised to look into it further. However, in a letter sent to Tim, the government has now confirmed that the government will not pass on any of this money. Instead, the government will use it to pay off a fine incurred by the previous Labour government for misspending EU funds.

Tim has tabled a motion in parliament reminding the government that "those funds were specifically given to help flood-hit areas", and calling "for the ESF funds to go to the communities for whom it was intended". The motion has been backed by 15 MPs from a range of different parties including Labour and the SNP.

Tim said: "The government has shamelessly decided to keep these funds which were given specifically to help flood-hit communities like ours here in Cumbria. This is a disgraceful betrayal of the more than 2000 local people who signed my petition calling on the government to apply for this money. They did so in good faith, assuming that this money would help areas that had been devastated by flooding. Instead, it is used to fill the government's coffers and pay off a fine which is nothing to do with people here."

Rebecca Hanson, the Lib Dem candidate for Copeland, added:
"When the floods hit the government promised the earth, but since then it has failed to live up to its own rhetoric. It is shocking that the government would deprive our county of these funds. Ministers in Whitehall might consider the floods a distant memory but local people know that our area is still feeling the effects now. This shows how out-of-touch the government is with our area."