M-5: Flood Relief and Futureproofing
Mr Speaker with your kind permission I would like to rise and address the House on the recent flooding in Somerset and Sedgemoor.
Mr Speaker when the Government received news of the flooding the armed forces were immediately deployed with very simple instructions, assist in any way that you are so able. The armed forces have been doing a tremendous job assisting locals, both professional and voluntary, in protecting homes, businesses and indeed the people who live there. I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to them and to the people of Somerset and Sedgemoor who have conducted themselves with distinction over the last few days.
Mr Speaker, reaction is not enough, so earlier today I met with the leaders of Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council at Number 10 Downing Street to discuss future measures that can help people get their lives on track and help prevent future flooding of this magnitude. Mr Speaker these discussions were very fruitful and have resulted in an action plan made possible by this Government's strict control of the national finances. Mr Speaker over the next twenty years central government shall pay out £100mn, that's £5mn per year, to help with recovery and repair costs. This is the exact figure that local councillors said that they wanted and it shall be paid out of a new natural disaster relief and rebuilding fund, legislation on this shall be forthcoming as soon as it is available. Furthermore Mr Speaker it was agreed that £500mn per year shall be made available for flood defence construction and maintenance every year going forward, this money shall be allocated through the usual means in the March Budget.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)
Mister Speaker, I'd like to personally thank the Prime Minister for his swift reaction to this sad and disappointing event - as he and the house know, I recently visited the most drastically affected village of Moorland, which has suffered so badly from flooding, it has actually been cut off from the rest of Somerset, and can only be reached by boat. The community is naturally angry that for so long it has been urging the environment agency to dredge the rivers and rhynes, yet it was never done.
Whilst I am naturally incredibly grateful for the reaction of the Government, and for the futureproofing it has guaranteed, I believe the question must be asked of the Environment Agency as to why the calls of local authorities and action groups for ongoing maintenance of the river banks, had been ignored for so long, resulting in what we see today - someone must be held responsible for this disaster which has affected the lives of so many, so drastically.
Rt. Hon. Anita Redmond MP
Conservative Member of Parliament for North Somerset
Shadow Education Secretary
Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities
Former Home Secretary (2014)
Total Experience: 65
Parliamentary: Novice (25)
Media: Novice (29)
Policy: Unknown (11)