Flooding (England)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 9th July 2007.

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Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Party Chair, Labour Party 3:31 pm, 9th July 2007

I thank my right hon. Friend for all the work that he has done in Hull both to try to alleviate the problems experienced by local people and to bring together the various local agencies, so that they were able to be very effective. I extend my sympathy to the family of the gentleman who died in Hull, Mr. Mike Barnett. That was a terrible tragedy and I know that there is to be a full coroner's inquest into the events that happened.

My right hon. Friend is right that there have been recent incidents in Carlisle and Boscastle. In my previous role as Minister with responsibility for the police, I had occasion to visit both those areas and I was particularly struck by the fact that the effects were apparent many months after the initial events took place. One of the things that I am concerned to ensure is that the action both of central and local government continues for the long term, because many families will need support in the long term. Sometimes it is easy for the media circus to come and go. We have to ensure that all our agencies are working to support people.

My right hon. Friend mentioned schools. Many primary schools, in particular, have been affected. We are having discussions with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to see whether we can re-profile the capital programme in relation to "building schools for the future" to make sure that improvements are made, and to see whether some immediate extra funds will be available to get schools up and running as quickly as possible, and particularly by the start of the new school year. That will give the families security.