FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon “dragging feet” on flood support

Rescue workers wade through flood water in Newton Stewart. Picture: PA

Rescue workers wade through flood water in Newton Stewart. Picture: PA

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Nicola Sturgeon was today accused of “dragging her feet” on providing millions of pounds in emergency cash for flood-hit communities in Scotland.

Many Scots families and firms have yet to get financial support which has already been dispersed elsewhere in the UK, Tory leader Ruth Davidson claimed at First Minister Questions.

Nicola Sturgeon . Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Nicola Sturgeon . Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Ms Sturgeon insisted that an announcement will be made soon on extra funding, but that the Government is still assessing the damage from the “ongoing” situation before it can finalise allocations.

The flooding has been “devastating” across the UK, the Tory leader told MSPs. But the UK Government announced an extra £50m in “immediate support” for homes and business affected on December 29 - with £5 million provided to the Scottish Government to allocate north of the border.

But Ms Davidson said MSPs are “still receiving phone calls from people in Newton Stewart wondering why people in Cumbria are already receiving support while they are not.

“Ministers have had this new money for over a fortnight - why are they dragging their feet?”

Councils and farmers who are “bearing the brunt” of the floods are still awaiting support payments they were promised months ago amid claims of a “lumbered approach” from the SNP government, Ms Davidson added.

“We know that people are beginning to ask why it is that firms and families cant get the support here that they’re getting elsewhere in the UK.”

But the First Minister said £4 million had been provided to communities affected by the impact of Storm Desmond in early December which is providing £1500 flat rate grants to those affected.

She added: “We will very shortly make an additional announcement about an additional allocation to deal specifically with the impact of Storm Frank and what we’ve seen in the days after that.

“We’re taking care to discuss with local authorities what the appropriate amount of that allocation will be. That’s the action we’re taking. It’s right and proper in focussing on people so hard hit.”

The Government is also continuing to invest to allow councils to put flood defence schemes in place, Ms Sturgeon added.

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