Prime Minister has “Mud on his hands” says Somerton Frome Labour candidate

oakensen commentWeeks after unprecedented rainfall and major flooding ruined homes and livelihoods of Somerset residents, David Cameron belatedly arrived in the Somerset Levels. Years of cuts and neglect by his Lib Dem backed Government were clear for him to see – rivers below capacity through lack of recent dredging and flood defences breached.

Labour’s South West European Parliamentary candidate, Clare Moody, called for the Government to help residents with an urgent application to the European Union’s Solidarity Fund. “The EU is there at times like this with cash to rebuild infrastructure, including waste water and transport. Instead of trying to cover up the cuts that have been made to flood defences since 2010 the Government should be focusing on getting lives back to normal, and that includes getting EU funding for immediate support and investing in long term solutions to prevent flooding in the Somerset Levels on this scale again.”

 ‘Passing the buck is not good enough’

Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome, David Oakensen, visiting the area around Langport in the constituency added: “It is a disgrace to hear that the Prime Minister ignored pleas from local farmers last September for urgent help with flood protection and dredging. Passing the buck to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is not good enough. Less money is available for flood protection this year than when the Government was elected in 2010. Cameron has mud on his hands”.

2010 cutsAnother Labour Euro-candidate, Somerset resident, Ann Reeder questioned whether the Prime Minister had taken the issue of flooding seriously enough. “It seems that we have local MPs who were too busy being Ministers in London to wake up to the threat of extreme weather, and we have a weak Prime Minister who did not see the scale of the task. Labour set up the Pitt Review in response to the 2007 floods, but this Tory/Lib Dem government axed progress reports and ignored recommendations. Parliament must have an update on what this Government will do now to tackle prepare vulnerable areas like the Somerset Levels for extreme weather, rather than sit back as if they can do nothing about it.”





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