Cumbria could benefit from EU funding as well as UK Government
- Sajjad meeting Conservative Cumbria County Councillors, Lords Inglewood and Cavendish, Baroness Williams and John Stevenson MP at their regional conference to discuss devolution for Cumbria in September
Following the devastating floods in Cumbria this week, local MEP, Sajjad Karim, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of £50m funding for residents and businesses in Cumbria and Lancashire, plus the match funding up to £1m for the Cumbria Community Foundation
In addition, Sajjad is keen to explore all possible sources of funding to make sure that Cumbria has access to all possible sources of funding that are available in order that ensure the maximum support for all affected.
This could include the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was introduced to help countries and people who have been adversely affected by disasters, and Sajjad believes the United Kingdom would qualify for funding as a “Regional Disaster”.
“An application must be submitted by the member state within 12 weeks and whilst the full extent of damage and the overall estimated costs are still being assessed I have written to the Secretary of State asking him to look positively at this opportunity which would see millions of Euros benefit for Cumbria.” said Sajjad
“I am working closely with European, local government and Westminster colleagues as there are calls from across the county to maximise funding for what is a very extensive clean-up exercise.”
This fund would not meet all the costs but would back up public expenditure to restore infrastructure in energy, water and waste water, telecommunications, transport, health and education.
It could also help with the costs of the clean-up, providing temporary accommodation and funding rescue services.
Commenting on longer term requirements Sajjad said “Whilst EUSF does not cover longer term remedial actions such as reconstruction, flood prevention measures etc, Cumbria could well qualify for assistance from Structural Funds and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development for these costs”
In the wake of the flooding in Suffolk in 2014, following evaluation, the Government decided not to apply for EUSF support due to the effect this could have on the UK Rebate. However the situation across Cumbria is infinitely worse and the consequential bill for damage is obviously going to be far greater.
Sajjad said “I am actively seeking further clarification on exactly and by how much a successful bid for EUSF would affect our rebate. I have submitted a Written Question in the European Parliament and I am also making enquiries directly with the Commission to obtain further details.
“If there is a net gain I am duty bound to try to obtain the fullest support for my constituents following this catastrophe. I shall also be pressing for emergency funds like the EUSF to be exempt from any effect on our EU rebate.”