Worcester’s MP has welcomed the latest raft of measures announced by the Prime Minister to help flood hit communities and businesses across the UK.
Robin Walker, who witnessed flooding in Worcester’s Diglis Avenue first hand on Monday has been in Parliament this morning and sought to raise a question in Prime Minister’s Question today. Although he was not called by the Speaker he has passed on his question to the Prime Minister’s office and received assurances that everything that can be done will be done to help.
Robin’s question was
“Over the last week Emergency and statutory services have been working around the clock to protect people, homes and businesses. To date Worcester’s flood defences have held and the majority of the city has stayed open for business. However with the potential for the Severn to rise to previously unrecorded levels in the days ahead I hope and pray our flood defences will continue to hold. Can the Prime Minister reassure my constituents that they will have the unconditional support of the UK Government in the event that they don’t?”
At PMQs the Prime Minister made clear that money would be no object in responding to the floods. He assured MPs that the Government was pressing banks and insurers to do what they can to help as well as making military assistance available wherever it is requested.
He has since announced a range of additional measures to help
- a £5,000 “repair and renew” grant for all affected homeowners and businesses - this will top up any money received from insurers to ensure flood resilience is built into homes and businesses as they are repaired
- all affected businesses will get 100% business rate relief for 3 months and will also get an extra 3 months to pay the business taxes they owe to HMRC as they get back on their feet
- a £10 million fund for farmers suffering water-logged fields to help restore it to farmable land as quickly as possible.
- a total commitment in excess of £750 million from the major banks to provide financial support to business and individual customers affected by the floods.
Welcoming this, Robin Walker said
“These measures are a good start but I have no doubt there will need to be more action taken and, with the appalling weather that Worcester is facing today, I am anxious to get back as soon as I can to visit affected constituents. Having raised my concerns at the highest level in Westminster I now want to be back in Worcester.”
“I am sorry to hear that a number of homes have now been flooded and some of the houses I visited on Monday, which had stayed dry despite being cut off by the floods are now suffering from flood water inside them. With the river set to rise further in the next 24 hours I know that the emergency services will be doing all they can to help and I would urge any affected constituents to contact them first and foremost. Whilst getting support to the most affected areas, we also need to remember that much of Worcester is still above water and open for business and I commend all those people who have struggled into work today.”
“Government cannot stop floods from happening altogether but we need to learn the lessons of these floods to improve our resilience for the future and I welcome the fact that more is being spent on flood defences than ever before. We need to make sure the lessons of this flooding are learned in the planning system as well so that flood plains are better protected in the future. It has to be right to ensure that every part of Government is doing what it can to help people who are suffering from the devastating consequences of flooding and I will keep pushing to make sure this help gets to where it is needed.”