Wefan Gymraeg

Why hasn't the UK Government applied for EU flood relief funds?


In the face of the devastating floods of recent weeks that have affected areas of Mid and West Wales, North Wales and much of the North of England, the Welsh Lib Dems are calling on the UK Government to make the most of European Union flood relief money available to them.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Minister William Powell AM has written to the UK Environment Minister Liz Truss MP and Europe Minister, David Liddington MP urging them to make an application to the EU Solidarity Fund, intended for such natural disasters.

There is £125m available to the UK through the fund, of which 10% could be accessed immediately, yet Conservative Government Ministers are yet to apply for the cash.

Speaking after a round of calls with flood victims in North West, William Powell AM said:

"As a Member State, the UK has paid into this fund, to provide assistance to our citizens in such extreme situations. The scale of the devastation across the UK is certainly sufficient to warrant an application, but time is of the essence. It would be pure madness not to make an application for reasons of ideological purity.

"There is a time window of twelve weeks to make an application - and we do not need to submit detailed costings at this stage. My friends and Liberal Democrat colleagues Sir Graham Watson and Catherine Bearder MEP have both received assurances from the European Commissioner that we are eligible - and that there will be no effect upon the UK rebate, in the event of a bid for assistance.

"With the savage cuts that the UK Conservative Government has visited upon DEFRA and imposed upon the Welsh Government through the overall settlement, such a financial injection is even more critical at this time.

"Pooling of certain assets to meet threats that assail us or our neighbours is at the heart of our membership of the European Union - and at times like this we are indeed Together Stronger. To refuse to countenance self help of this kind in the face of such a calamity is a triumph of ideology over common sense. All people of good will, in Wales and across the UK, will draw their own conclusions if our UK Government fails to act."

Speaking after a round of calls with flood victims in North West, William Powell AM said:

 

"As a Member State, the UK has paid into this fund, to provide assistance to our citizens in such extreme situations. The scale of the devastation across the UK  is certainly sufficient to warrant an application, but time is of the essence. It would be pure madness not to make an application for reasons of ideological purity.

 

"There is a time window of twelve weeks to make an application - and we do not need to submit detailed costings at this stage. My friends and Liberal Democrat colleagues Sir Graham Watson and Catherine Bearder MEP have both received assurances from the European Commissioner that we are eligible - and that there will be no effect upon the UK rebate, in the event of a bid for assistance.

 

"With the savage cuts that the UK Conservative Government has visited upon DEFRA and imposed upon the Welsh Government through the overall settlement, such a financial injection is even more critical at this time.

 

"Pooling of certain assets to meet threats that assail us or our neighbours is at the heart of our membership of the European Union - and at times like this we are indeed Together Stronger. To refuse to countenance self help of this kind in the face of such a calamity is a triumph of ideology over common sense. All people of good will, in Wales and across the UK, will draw their own conclusions if our UK Government fails to act."


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