Boris Johnson was blasted by one of his own MPs today after delays to helping flood victims.
“Furious” Craig Whittaker, MP for Calder Valley, criticised the Prime Minister for failing to trigger a meeting of the Government’s COBRA emergency committee.
The Conservative leader has been holed up at a 17th Century mansion in the Kent countryside – snubbing pleas to visit communities devastated by Storm Dennis and Storm Ciara.
Mr Whittaker told the BBC that while cash announced including last night “will make a huge difference … the problem is we’ve had to wait so long for it to be triggered”.
He said: “It’s nine days since the floods in the Calder Valley and I can tell you I’ve been hammering on doors in Whitehall every day since, trying to get this funding triggered.
"The problem is, what happened last time in 2015, COBRA was called because it was very widespread.
"This time, because it was much more isolated to the Calder Valley, COBRA wasn’t called so all the ministers weren’t in one room to agree a funding package.
"The sad thing is all this funding package that was announced last night comes from about seven different departments, and when you don’t have a situation where you’ve got all ministers in one room, getting them to sign off is just incredibly difficult.”
When it was put to Tory MP for Wyre Forest Mark Garnier that COBRA could have released the cash earlier, he admitted: “Yes, absolutely.”
The government had already activated the Bellwin Scheme at 5.30am on Monday to allow councils to recoup the cost of emergency help for those hit by Storm Dennis.
Last night, ministers unveiled extra measures to help the flood-hit. Affected households can apply for up to £500. Homes and firms “significantly affected” can get 100% council tax and rates relief for at least three months.
Small to medium-sized firms with “severe, uninsurable losses” are eligible for up to £2,500.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We know climate change means extreme weather events like this are more likely and are already investing £2.6billion in flood defences by 2021.”
However, Boris Johnson has not called a meeting of COBRA and has instead been at the Foreign Secretary’s luxurious residence – Grade-I listed Chevening House in the Kent countryside.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Tackling climate change and the impact on our environment is both a national and international priority.
“The UK is leading the fight against it by delivering on our world-leading target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and we are driving ambition for global action ahead of COP26.
“We are also investing record amounts in flood defences to protect communities from the impacts of flooding and have committed £4billion to strengthen our response to extreme weather.”
No10 stressed the PM was receiving regular briefings on floods and was “fully engaged with the Government’s recovery effort”.
Source: Read Full Article