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Flooded Areas: Support

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Craig Whittaker Craig Whittaker Assistant Whip

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on reforming the support package provided to flooded areas.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government activated the flood recovery framework in November 2019 and February 2020 to provide support to communities such as Calderdale, where 100 mm of rain fell in just 12 hours, causing extensive flooding. I extend my thanks to all those involved in the responses to recent floods, including those in Calderdale; I thank the local council, the Environment Agency, the military and emergency services for all their hard work.

Photo of Craig Whittaker Craig Whittaker Assistant Whip

As my right hon. Friend is aware, the funding package comes from several different Departments and, in the case of an isolated incident like that of the Calder Valley after Storm Ciara, and even after 1,200 properties were flooded, Government support for households was not triggered. Will he ensure that support by way of an off-the-shelf package is available for any affected area in future and that no area has to wait nine days again for support?

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My hon. Friend raises an important point. We are having discussions across government about having a consistent threshold above which the flood recovery framework might be activated. On Storm Ciara, which affected his constituency very badly, in the event, we decided to treat Storms Ciara and Dennis as a single episode, which meant that Calderdale did qualify for the same support that other areas had.