Rory Stewart MP and Defra Minister for floods has welcomed news that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has completed the application for EU support funding for recovery and repairs following the devastating floods in the UK over December and January. The funds will be in addition to the significant funds already committed by the British government.

The responsibility for recovery, including matters relating to the European Union solidarity fund, lies with the Department for Communities and Local Government, and Rory explained that officials in DCLG had been working hard throughout the past two months on working out the details of the of the package and its administration.

Rory said: “I am very pleased that the government has recognised that the immediate priority is to respond to the urgent needs of those affected, which is why we have already provided more than £200 million to help those affected in terms of support, recovery and repairs. It is great that we will be augmenting this support with the EUSF, which was set up to respond to major natural disasters. The fund was created as a reaction to the severe floods in central Europe in the summer of 2002. Since then, it has been used for 70 disasters covering a range of different catastrophic events, including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. The only time the UK has applied to the fund was following the flooding of 2007, which saw widespread and significant damage across large parts of England. Member states have 12 weeks from the start of an incident to register their intent to claim. Once we have confirmed our intent, there is time to consider, with the Commission, the elements of assessment. That is why this decision was not communicated earlier, since a great deal of complex discussion has been going on in preparation for release of the fund. I am glad, however, that concerned constituents now have a definitive answer on our application for this solidarity funding.”

DCLG Minister James Wharton said: “I want to pay tribute to all those who have supported the many places that were flooded in December and early January; the local authorities, the emergency services, the Environment Agency staff, the community volunteers, the military and many others made a significant contribution to supporting communities affected by the terrible events that we saw over Christmas, in December and in early January. The whole House will want to recognise the enormous effort that has gone into supporting households and businesses, not just the initial response to the floods, but the ongoing work to get residents back into homes and businesses open.”

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