Flooding: Irwell Vale and Surrounding Areas

Part of NDAs: Universities – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 4:00 pm, 29th June 2022

I know those areas well. There are thousands of houses there. In the beautiful villages in my constituency, there are just 100-plus houses. I understand that the Government have to prioritise funding; there is not an endless pot of money. However, we have been waiting a very long time, and we have been flooded lots of times. Now that Radcliffe, other areas of Bury and Ramsbottom have had significant flooding investment, I hope that the Minister understands why we think that it is our turn.

We need the investment. We are talking about relatively few houses, but in truth, no one cares whether there are 100 or 1,000 houses in their community. In politics, we talk about houses when we should really talk about homes. We do not live in a house; we live in our home, and it is not just four walls and a roof. It is where we have our photograph albums from when our children or grandchildren were at school, loved items of furniture that have been in the family for generations, and all our possessions. When water comes through the air bricks in the house, or up through the floorboards, it is not just damaging people’s house; in many cases, it is washing away a life—a lifetime of memories, and all those happy events that took place in their home. That is why the scheme is so important. People who live in Irwell Vale, Chatterton or Strongstry have had that happen to them five times in the last decade.

In politics, we do not often point back at things and say, “I am really proud that I was part of that.” We probably should do a bit more of it. However, if I can deliver this money to the community that I have the privilege of representing, it will give me— though this is not about me—the opportunity to say proudly that debates in Parliament, and this debate, transformed people’s lives. I would be grateful to hear from the Minister about future funding, and the Government’s ambitions for funding the scheme. I do not want to go back to these communities next winter, or maybe the winter after that, and have to explain to people why their life has been washed away again. We have a real opportunity today to change that.