Flood Defences (Leeds)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 27th January 2016.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Labour, Leeds West 7:15 pm, 27th January 2016

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. He is right to say that Duffield Printers has had to lay off 27 workers. The Sheesh Mahal on Kirkstall Road, which has been open for 26 years, has also closed, and there are fears for the future of those businesses and many others, in part, because of the worries about their being able to access affordable insurance in the future.

The second point I wanted to make was about immediate support. Leeds must continue to receive the immediate funding it needs. The people have played their part in the clean-up operation, and now it is time for the Government to play theirs. The city has received £4.7 million up to 11 January in Government grants to help with the clear-up and recovery efforts from the recent flooding, but that is still not half the overall £11.44 million that is deemed to be needed. I urge Ministers to release the additional funds without any further delay and, importantly, to allow local authorities dealing with these situations as much flexibility as possible in how these funds are spent, so that there are no unhelpful barriers preventing them from assisting local residents and businesses.

Now let me turn to the crucial issue of flood defences in Leeds.