Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has expressed her anger at the failure of the Scottish Government to release vital funding to support local businesses, households and Community Groups across Scotland hit by recent floods.
On 17 December the Scottish Government announced that Dumfries and Galloway Council is likely to receive £700,000 to support those affected by Storm Desmond which hit the region on 5/6 December. The funds can be used for grants of £1500 to businesses, households and community groups affected and became available after the UK Government provided an extra £3.94 m to the Scottish Government as a share of UK funds set aside to respond to the recent floods. However, the Scottish Government are refusing the pay the councils the vital funds until late March- nearly four months after Storm Desmond.
The UK Government also recently announced a second allocation of funding of £5m to the Scottish Government in response to Storm Frank which hit the region at the end of December – but so far the Scottish Government have refused to say how the money will be allocated, simply promising that the region will receive a share of the funds as one of the worst hit.
The delays have prompted an angry reaction from Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray who said, “This is a double whammy for flood victims in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s bad enough that the Scottish Government are refusing to release until late March the £700,0000 they promised Dumfries and Galloway as a share of the £3.94 million the Scottish Government got from the UK Government to support those affected by Strom Desmond. However, it is an absolutely disgraceful that so far the Scottish Government haven’t even said how much our region will get from the extra £5m the UK Government has just announced for Scottish Government to support those affected by Storm Frank. It’s weeks since businesses and households had to clean up after Storm Desmond yet they can’t access this funding and people affected by Storm Frank don’t even know if they will be eligible for any support. It’s a real contrast to the local response when the council, police , fire service , coastguard and local communities rallied round immediately to support those affected by both storms. In contrast the Scottish Government are dragging their heels. They should pay up the £700,000 they promised Dumfries and Galloway now, not in three months time and they should get their act together and agree how much the region is to receive as our share to deal with the aftermath of Storm Frank”.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
On 17 December the Scottish Government announced that Dumfries and Galloway Council is likely to receive £700,000 of funding to provide each household, business, or community group affected by Storm Desmond with a grant of £1,500 each for the following:
• To reimburse them for the opportunity cost of not receiving the full benefit of services they pay for through Council Tax /Business Rates while absent from their homes and while businesses have their trading disrupted;
• To enable people to protect their homes and businesses against future floods by installing new flood barriers, or by carrying out flood resilient repairs such as replacing doors and windows with water resistant alternatives, or moving electricity sockets up to a safer level, etc.
Only those households, businesses and community groups which suffered inundation of water within their properties during Storm Desmond, in the period 04 to 06 December 2015, are eligible to apply for the grant.
The Scottish Government funding is not related to damages caused during Storm Frank, in the period 29 to 31 December 2015 and no announcement has yet been made on how much Dumfries and Galloway will receive to support households, businesses and community groups affected by this storm.