Chancellor urged to offer Yorkshire flood cash guarantee

GEORGE Osborne has been urged to give a clear guarantee the Government will pick up the near £50 million bill for restoring flood-damaged roads and bridges in West Yorkshire in next week's Budget.

Tim Swift

Calderdale Council has written to the Chancellor on behalf of flood-hit areas asking for an urgent commitment to help local authorities with the mounting cost of repairing infrastructure damaged in the stormthat hit the region on Boxing Day.

Mr Osborne has been told the failure to repair key transport links soon will begin to hamper the recovery of communities across West Yorkshire.

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Calderdale Council is currently facing a repair bill of £32.5 million while Leeds and Bradford will need to spend £8.6 million and £2.7 million respectively.

Coun Tim Swift, leader of Calderdale Council, said: “We, as a council, are continuing to use our own resources to help restore our local infrastructure and make sure that we are resilient before next winter. The task is great. Three of our bridges collapsed, three footbridges were swept away, key roads within our area have cracked and require immediate repair and we have experienced several landslides.

“The costs of repair are too great for the council to shoulder the burden alone and it is essential that we can have certainty from the government that we will receive the £27 million needed for the most critical repair work.

“It’s now two months since the government awarded us £5.5 million for Elland Bridge and this has ensured temporary links to this major community have been restored.

“Any further delay to a funding announcement, which will allow us to rebuild our collapsed network of bridges and roads, risks continued and more costly damage. It will also begin to hamper the recovery which we are now seeing in the Upper Valley, where our communities are beginning to re-open shops and businesses.

“We urgently need more certainty as the repair and reconstruction is essential in restoring vital links across Calderdale and other regionally significant connections, such as Linton Bridge in Leeds.

“We have written to the Chancellor, George Osborne and the Yorkshire Flooding Envoy Robert Goodwill MP, asking them to confirm that the repair and recovery of the critical infrastructure across West Yorkshire is a priority and requesting a clear and unequivocal commitment to further funding for the region in next week’s budget.”