SNP Politicians Welcome Application to the EU Solidarity Fund

>> 29 February 2016

Dennis Robertson MSP, Stuart Donaldson MP and Councillor Geva Blackett have today welcomed the news that UK Government will apply to the EU Solidarity Fund to help communities who were affected by the recent flooding.

Stuart Donaldson, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, initially asked the UK Government to consider an application early in January, however it was only on 25th February, and with the deadline looming on the 27th February, that they confirmed an application would be made. The European Commission had previously confirmed that the UK would be eligible to help from the fund, which was set up to respond to natural disasters to help and support member states in recovering from them.

Aberdeenshire Council have confirmed that they are looking at a bill of around £7.6 million for all the required repairs following the damage caused by Storm 'Frank', and the subsequent flooding across the area.

The Scottish Government has given £2 million to the local authority, with just under half of that amount already issued to households and businesses through the £1,500 and £3,000 payments under the Scottish Government Relief Fund.

Dennis Robertson, MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said:

“The money from the Scottish Government is very much welcomed across Aberdeenshire, and it is great to hear that the grants to individuals and businesses are being paid out quickly to ensure that those affected can get back on their feet as swiftly as possible.

“Unfortunately, many communities across Aberdeenshire were hit, meaning that Aberdeenshire Council face an enormous repairs bill, and any further financial assistance will help to ensure that the local authority don’t have to meet the entire burden of that cost.

“Whilst it is disappointing that it has taken so long for the UK Government to agree to make such an application, I hope that it can now be done and processed quickly so these communities can be rebuilt and open for business again as soon as possible.”

Commenting, Stuart Donaldson MP said:

“I have raised the issue of an application to the EU Solidarity Fund a number of times in Parliament so the announcement was welcome, but long overdue.

“I am still awaiting a full response from the government about which agencies they have been working with locally to ensure that sufficient money is applied for, and that those in flood affected communities across West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine get the support they need.”

Councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Geva Blackett, added:

“Stuart, Dennis and I have worked solidly together at all levels of Government on behalf of our constituents.

“I was astounded to learn from Reuters that EU officials were perplexed as to why they had not been approached by the Westminster government for funds, when so many people throughout my Ward have been flooded out of their homes and businesses. Upon hearing this, I immediately spoke with Stuart, who has repeatedly raised this issue on behalf of the people of Ballater and Aboyne in particular.

“I am so pleased that his diligence has paid off, and look forward to further funding to help this hard hit area.”

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