Thursday, 31 December 2015

“And local governments can’t borrow for revenue - they can only do this for capital projects. We can’t borrow a penny to help flood victims.” Neither Guy Opperman or Anne-Marie Trevelyan could be contacted for comment.

Northumberland council leader claims MPs are failing constituents as flood-relief bill hits £9.4m
·         13:28, 30 Dec 2015
·         Updated 13:32, 30 Dec 2015
·         By Rory Tingle  jOURNAL
Grant Davey wants the government to reimburse the council's spend on flood relief as they have promised to do elsewhere
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The leader of Northumberland County Council has accused the region’s two Tory MPs of failing their flood-hit constituents.
Coun Grant Davey said the Government promised to fully fund a Yorkshire council’s relief efforts but has not done the same for Northumberland.
He claimed Hexham MP Guy Opperman and Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan had failed to effectively lobby the government and “stick up for their constituents”.
Floods Minister Rory Stewart told Shipley MP Philip Davies that Bradford Council’s spending on flood relief would be fully reimbursed.

Coun Davey said that although Northumberland received £143k for emergency response expenditure, the Government has not said if the other money will be repaid.
The Journal can reveal that the total bill for recovering from floods in Corbridge now stands at £9.4m.
Northumberland County Council says it has £27m in available reserves, meaning that 30% of this has already been spent on flood relief.
Coun Davey warned the bill will rise as recovery work continues, and that the reduction in the reserves could threaten the quality of public services. He said: “In Bradford the MPs are sticking up for their constituents. Are our Tory MPs sticking up for theirs? I would urge our Conservative MPs in the west and north of the county to get behind the call for full-cost recovery for Northumberland. We don’t want to play politics with the tragedy of the floods but we think Northumberland deserves a fair deal.
 “We’ve already used £9.4m of our reserves supporting our communities and we think the Government needs to support Northumberland more effectively with cash, not press releases.”
Local Government Secretary Greg Clark has previously told councils to use reserve cash to fund key services.
A spokesperson from his department said last week that Northumberland County Council had £114.2m in non-ringfenced reserves at the end of the financial year. Coun Davey said: “It is wrong to make the public think that there is oodles of money hidden away under the mat that can be spent at any time.
“Spending our reserves will affect other services, because the Government has cut our budget by 80% over the next four years.
“We have two Tory MPs who do not understand the cost of providing services in a rural area. You have to take everything to the people and that is hugely expensive.
“And local governments can’t borrow for revenue - they can only do this for capital projects. We can’t borrow a penny to help flood victims.”

Neither Guy Opperman or Anne-Marie Trevelyan could be contacted for comment.

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