PM pays tribute to flood clean-up effort

Brown announces extra money for flood relief
Brown announces extra money for flood relief

Gordon Brown is making his second visit to waterlogged Gloucester, after announcing the total funds for clearing up after the floods will rise to £46 million.

The government has doubled the initial fund for the Yorkshire and Humberside relief effort to £20 million and will make further cash available from the Department for Schools, Children and Families and Regional Development Agencies.

Speaking during prime minister's questions, Mr Brown said councils would be fully reimbursed for clean-up efforts, an increase from the original 85 per cent compensation for emergency relief.

Mr Brown paid tribute to the emergency services, adding he had toured the flood-hit areas himself.

This was greeted with loud guffaws at David Cameron's expense. The Tory leader has been heckled for visiting Rwanda while flood waters rose in his Witney constituency.

Mr Brown promised the review launched by environment secretary Hilary Benn will be broad. Initially commissioned to look at why the floods in Yorkshire were so intensive, it will now include the sitting of infrastructure across the country and drainage capabilities.

Pressure will also be put on insurance companies to process claims quickly and Mr Brown said the government had reminded Severn Trent of its responsibility to provide water for residents in Gloucestershire.

Severn Trent has already established 926 bowsers across Tewkesbury, Gloucester and Cheltenham and Mr Brown said 900 more are expected. The army has been distributing bottled water and the Red Cross received 24 crates of fresh water this morning.

340,000 people in Gloucestershire will be without water for two weeks after the Mythe water treatment works were closed.

Local officials announced today that portable loos would be brought into the city and residents have been encouraged to use grey water as much as possible.

The government has been criticised for inadequate spending on flood defences in recent years. Ministers have persistently denied the Environment Agency's budget was cut and Mr Brown said spending on flood defences will rise to £800 million.

If Mr Benn's review suggests more is needed, MPs will be asked for it, the prime minister said.


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