Prime Minister unveils funding to help flood-hit Yorkshire communities

Belongings sit in floodwater outside a house in Fishlake, Doncaster (Danny Lawson / PA).
Belongings sit in floodwater outside a house in Fishlake, Doncaster (Danny Lawson / PA).
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Boris Johnson has urged people in flood hit areas to heed the advice of the emergency services as he unveiled a range of measures to help people affected.

The Prime Minister said £2,500 would be available to businesses hit by flooding, amid criticism from opposition leaders over the Government’s response to the issue.

A recovery grant of £500 per household would also be available.

Severe flooding hit several areas in Yorkshire and the East Midlands last week, with parts around the River Don near Doncaster worst affected after the river burst its banks.

Mr Johnson chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra yesterday afternoon, as pressure mounted on Ministers to take action.

Speaking afterwards, he said the country had to “prepare for more floods” this winter because the ground is so waterlogged. He said: “The worry for me is that there are some people who are continuing not to listen to the advice of the emergency services.

“I would just say to people - the emergency services do have sound advice. When they advise you to evacuate, you should do so.” Mr Johnson added: “In the next few weeks and months, the rainfall could cause flooding in many parts of the country and we simply have to be prepared.”

He said the authorities are working “flat out” to deliver an adequate response, adding: “I know there will be people who feel that that isn’t good enough.

“I know there will be people who are worrying about the damage to their homes, who will be worried about the insurance situation, worried about the losses they face.

“All I want to say to those people is that there are schemes to cover those losses.”

It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded the Government’s response as “woeful”, while Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said it was not taking it as seriously enough.

Mr Corbyn said if the flooding had happened in Surrey in the South East, it “would have been a very different story”.

The Government’s emergency Bellwin scheme reimburses councils for costs they incur during a response to flooding, for items such as rest centres, temporary accommodation and staff overtime.

Annie Hall, the former high sheriff of Derbyshire, died after she was swept away by water on Friday in Darley Dale, near Matlock. Downpours last week meant several areas in Yorkshire and the East Midlands were struck by a month’s worth of rain in a single day.

Around half the 700 residents of Fishlake, near Doncaster, left the village and those who stayed behind have faced waist-high floods.

Severe flood warnings remained in place around South Yorkshire yesterday, five days on from the deluges which hit the county and parts of Derbyshire.

Both Mr Corbyn and Ms Swinson visited South Yorkshire yesterday as they increased their criticism of Mr Johnson.

Visiting Fishlake near Doncaster, Ms Swinson accused the Government of not taking it as seriously as it should.

She said it should be declared a national emergency to allow EU emergency funds to be made available.

She said the party’s policy of spending £5bn on flood defences was necessary. The Environment Agency said it had more than 200 staff on the ground in south Yorkshire. An additional 100 UK Armed Forces personnel will be deployed to South Yorkshire to help the recovery effort.