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Scottish council says if money's no object Cameron should help in our flood clean-up

A Scottish council has called for a share of the cash promised by the Westminster Government to deal with the aftermath of the UK floods.

Many homes have been affected by flooding in Dumfries and Galloway, and council officials there say residents deserve cash for clean-ups and preventing future flooding just as much as English victims.

In the wake of the major flooding south of the border, David Cameron pledged that money would be "no object" in the relief effort.

"Whatever money is needed, we will spend it," he said last week.

Councillor Colin Smyth, chair of Dumfries and Galloway council's economy, environment and infrastructure committee, said Cameron's comments raised questions over whether Scotland would be entitled to a share under the rules of the Barnett formula if there is any new spending of public money.

Some people in Dumfries and Galloway affected by floods feel ignored as attention has been focused on southern England.

Smyth said the leader of the council would now be writing to Scotttish Finance Secretary John Swinney asking for any additional cash to be targeted at areas affected by flooding in Scotland.

Major flooding hit Dumfries and Galloway at the end of December, with homes evacuated in areas including the Whitesands in Dumfries, Kirkconnel, Port Logan and Newton Stewart. In Sanquhar, firefighters in boats rescued 28 people.

The village of Moniaive was almost marooned by flooding on the A702, while locals in Carsphairn said it was the worst conditions in living memory.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has already asked the Scottish Government to contribute £9 million to a flood prevention scheme focused in the Whitesands, which is next to the River Nith.

Smyth said: "We need to put in place that scheme but we need the Government's help - we don't have £12 million we can suddenly put towards a scheme of that scale.

"We want to set aside £3m and ask the Scottish Government for the other 80%. The area floods on a regular basis but doesn't actually have a flood prevention scheme."

He added: "Areas of the region flooded that frankly have not been flooded for decades.

"The clean-up costs alone were over £1m just on the recent flooding, which is astronomical for a council of this size."

He added: "Last March we had snow which cost us £1.6m in clean-up costs - so this is the second big major-weather impact we have had in the same financial year. It is constantly eating into the council's budget."

Among properties affected by recent flooding was Ivano's, a takeaway in the Whitesands.

Owner Carol Williamson said they were "demoralised" after being flooded for the third time in four years.

"We get approximately 6ft of water in our business," she said. "We closed for 14-and-a-half weeks the first time, nine-and-half weeks the second time and this time it will maybe be another three to four weeks before we are up and running."

She felt they were being given no help in contrast to efforts announced south of the border to help flood victims.

She said: "There is no point in being vocal any more because we have said it, done it, we have been through it so many times.

"David Cameron is doing this because it helps the area that he is looking for votes in. But what about us?"

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said a number of applications had been received to fund flood protection schemes.

She said a joint COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and Scottish Government panel will meet soon to consider these applications and make recommendations to COSLA leadership and ministers.

"This will determine the distribution of the £42 million per annum of Scottish Government funding allocated for flood protection within the general capital grant to local authorities."

She added: "The UK Government has not to date indicated that additional resources will be available to the Scottish Government as a result of recent flooding announcements."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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