Labour MEPs: UK govt must apply now for EU funding to help communities hit by floods


Labour MEPs have written to the prime minister demanding the government applies immediately for European Union funding to help communities hit by flooding.

The UK is entitled to apply for money from the EU Solidarity Fund, a fund which earlier this year the governments of Bulgaria, Italy and Romania accessed, to the tune of €66.5 million (£48m), following severe flooding in those countries.

The North of England and Scotland in particular have been deluged by Storm Desmond, with communities only just beginning to come to terms with the scale of the disaster.

In the letter, Labour MEPs write:

"As you will be aware, the past 48 hours has seen record levels of rainfall, with some areas receiving the equivalent of a month's rainfall in just two days. Faced with this barrage, thousands of homes have been flooded and many households and businesses have been left without electricity, just weeks before Christmas.    

"We are therefore writing to you to make a plea that all necessary efforts are made and all necessary resources are fully explored, at national and European level, to assist those affected by Storm Desmond.

"Last year when the South West of England was hit with similar flooding the UK government failed to draw down on vital European Union funding, leaving people in that area without extra financial support to rebuild their lives.

"We would like to ask you to make sure this situation is not repeated, and that this time the UK government makes use of the resources at its disposal and applies for full EU support."

The letter concludes:

"In the past year alone the governments of Italy, Bulgaria and Romania have received more than £40 million through the EU Solidarity Fund, to help their communities recover after severe flooding. On behalf of all those communities affected we urge you and the British government to do the same and to apply to the EU Solidarity Fund.

"If the UK government decide to pursue this route, we as Labour MEPs will be at your service to help facilitate a quick and successful application."

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