Jamie Reed, Member of Parliament for Copeland, has hit out at the Government’s continued delays on applying for financial support for flood-hit communities from the EU Solidarity Fund.
In a Parliamentary Procedure known as a ‘Point of Order’, the local MP criticised the Government’s ‘delaying tactics’. Despite repeated requests dating back to the beginning of December, the Government are yet to provide a straight answer on whether they will apply for the funding that communities in Cumbria desperately need. The Speaker of the House of Commons described the Government’s actions as ‘most unsatisfactory’.
Following the floods, Jamie Reed used a Parliamentary Question to ask the Foreign Office if the Government would apply for funding. A reply to these questions should take no longer than three days. The day before Christmas recess, the Foreign Office responded to the question saying it would take longer than expected to answer the question. The Foreign Office finally replied over a month later saying it was the responsibility of another department: The Department for Communities and Local Government.
At the same time as the Parliamentary Question was tabled, the Copeland MP wrote to the Prime Minister imploring him to access funding that is badly needed. In recent days, it has been discovered that the Prime Minister abdicated his responsibility by forwarding the correspondence to another Department; but the Prime Minister sent the letter on to the WRONG department. He sent it to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs instead of the Department for Communities and Local Government, delaying the response further.
Taken together, this shows the Government’s unwillingness to engage with the issue at hand and suggests that they are doing all they can to delay answering the question until after the deadline for applications has passed. This comes as earlier in the week Jamie Reed warned the Government they were running out of time to apply for the funding.
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:
“People will see straight through the Government’s attempts to bury their heads in the sand. Whatever the Government’s policy is, people deserve a straight answer and the Prime Minister’s attempts to kick this issue into the long grass is shameful.
“The EU Solidarity Fund is designed to be accessed by communities that have been hit by flooding and severe weather. The Prime Minister should apply to allow communities in Cumbria to access these resources to help them get back on their feet.
“The Government can’t keep playing for time, giving local residents the run-around by avoiding the questions and ducking responsibilities. People in flood-hit communities should rest assured, I will not be giving the Government a moment’s peace until they sit up and do what is right for Cumbria.”