'It's too little too late' - Doncaster councillors on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to flood affected areas

Doncaster councillors who met Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he visited flood affected areas of the borough have said he’s been ‘shamed into coming’.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 2:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 11:29 am
The prime minister Boris Johnson sat next to Doncaster Labour councillor Susan Durant, chatting to flood victims during his visit to Stainforth Community Resource Centre Picture James Hardisty.

Coun Susan Durant, who represents Thorne & Moorends and Coun George Derx in Stainforth, both criticised the timing of the PM’s visit.

The Prime Minister arrived in Stainforth to be updated on the relief effort in the flood hit areas, after he gave the go-ahead for scores of soldiers to be deployed to the town.

Doncaster Council said 1,900 people had been taken to safety, with the village of Fishlake being one of the worst hit.

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Mr Johnson received a frosty reception from some residents and was then grilled later on by councillors and other people affected by flooding inside Stainforth Community Centre.

He announced relief funding would be made available for those affected by the floods and said that funding for locals councils to help affected households would be made available to the tune of £500 per eligible household.

Up to £2,500 would be available for small to medium-sized businesses which have suffered severe impacts and which are not covered by insurance.

Coun Durant said: “It’s too little too late, I’m sorry you need to charge of what you’re supposed to be doing and he’s done nothing.

“The communities have really rallied round places like Stainforth, Moorends, Thorne even Goole and other outlying areas – they’ve all been outstanding.

“To me, he’s treated them with so much disrespect, people have lost their homes, belongings, livelihoods and its shameful. At any point I didn’t feel he was being genuine.

“I honestly think he’s been shamed into coming – the fact that this community has pulled together so much and the coverage its received I think he’s felt he’s had no choice but to come.

“I don’t think his visit will make any difference unless he actually delivers on the things he’s said like looking again at the flood defences and the Environment Agency.

“These people need protecting, not just at Fishlake but people in Bentley, Conisbrough and everyone that’s been hit.”

Coun Derx, added: “He came, he made some promises and he left. Whether he keeps them or not is a different story.

“Boris should’ve been here at least on the Sunday and started COBRA (emergency) proceedings – I felt angry when he said it wasn’t a national emergency because it clearly is.

“He’s made quite a few people angry, he side stepped all the questions. I’m a grassroots politician but if I can answer questions, I will.”

Nick Allen, DMBC Conservative councillor for Bessacarr, said: “I’m pleased Boris visited and this should not be politicised in any way. I don’t think the PM has been disrespectful in any way and it’s unfortunate that my council colleague has said that.

“The government activated the Bellwin Scheme days ago. We’ve all seen how devastating this tragedy has been and the impact it’s had on our communities is too great to measure.

“We need to address how flooding can be prevented from happening in future. There’s no need to make harsh critical comments about the Prime Minister’s visit and I think some Labour councillors should be ashamed of themselves. This is a massive tragedy and not a political football.”