Sheffield councillor hits out at government for failing to provide financial support to flood victims

A Sheffield councillor has criticised the government for not calling a national emergency or providing financial support for victims of the floods.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 6th December 2019, 1:11 pm

Earlier this month Sheffield was hit with a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, causing rivers to burst banks and forcing people to evacuate schools and homes.

The city’s flood defences, which were installed following the 2007 floods that killed two people, were praised for holding up and mitigating damage.

But many were still badly affected.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The government initially said they would provide £500 support to each household that suffered in the flood.

They have since added conditions, described by some as ‘objectionable,’ meaning a threshold of twenty five residential properties needed to be affected before the government would refund the council.

In a motion put forward for a full council discussion, councillor Bryan Lodge said: “Whilst this may not be a large financial problem for the council, and the commitment will be honoured, it is once again a situation whereby the Government make a promise and yet leave local authorities to fund it.”

Locals were also angered when on a visit to the region Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the floods were not a national emergency, a decision criticised by many in the county and rival party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson.

Coun Lodge said: “There needs to be a rigorous examination of how, as a country, we can do everything we can to reduce flooding and to understand the role that climate change and global heating plays, and to ensure everything possible is being done to reduce the impact and the root causes.

“There is no room for complacency and the council has already developed a series of new flood protection schemes. It is essential we keep up the pressure on central government to give us the required funding and believes Sheffield has shown the Government that when they invest in flood defences they clearly work in protecting homes, businesses and essential infrastructure.”

The motion will be discussed at a full council meeting on December 4.