Anger over government 'failure to release aid cash' for Doncaster flooding victims

Doncaster MP Ed Miliband has accused the government of penny pinching over help for families devasted by floods.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 3:29 pm

With Doncaster on flood alert again yesterday (Monday), Mr Miliband raised concerns about cash aid for victims in the borough.

He told Parliament and environment secretary, Theresa Villiers: “Three months on from the floods that hit my constituency in November, many people are still suffering and are still out of their homes, and I am afraid government help for those particularly without insurance, despite promises made, is inadequate.

“May I direct her to the issue of matched funds?

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a woman takes a baby to safety after being rescued by boat at Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster as flood waters rise in the area

“Because what this means in South Yorkshire is that, although the government have said they are making up to £1 million available—itself a measly sum compared to the need—that money is not being released because £600,000 has been raised from local businesses and people, but it does not reach the £1 million. This is penny-pinching, narrow-minded and wrong, so may I ask the Secretary of State to look at this again because it is just wrong for the people in my constituency?”

Ms Villiers said: “I am more than happy to look at this, but I would emphasise that there are many successful examples of where funding has been sought from a range of sources, including businesses, which has led to very successful results, including in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.”

Last week, Mr Miliband told a Westminster Hall debate over 1,500 people in Doncaster North were affected by the flood, with the cost of restoring properties estimated at nearly £6m in Doncaster alone.

He added: "We are not talking about large sums of money. If the Prime Minister’s promises mean anything the government must increase the funds.”

Ms Villiers said the government’s Flood Re scheme improved access to insurance.

She said: “Virtually 100 per cent of people now have the option of quotes from at least two companies when choosing insurance, but we recognise that there was concern in South Yorkshire after the November flooding incident, so we are reviewing the scheme independently to ensure that it is working as effectively as possible to help people insure in these circumstances.”