Sajjad has welcomed the Government’s decision to apply for grant aid from the European Union’s Special Fund in the wake of extreme flooding across the North of England, Wales and Scotland this winter.
The EUSF was set up in 2002 to respond to major natural disasters and retrospectively reimburses Member States affected by 2.5% to 6% of the costs incurred depending on the scale of the damage.
Sajjad has been working towards this since the first flooding in Cumbria and North and East Lancashire. He has been in contact with Government Ministers and the relevant EU offices since early December last year. Most recently he spoke with Northern Powerhouse Minister, James Wharton, on a visit to the North West last week.
The announcement which was made in the House of Commons by James Wharton MP means that flooded communities will benefit from as much as £125m.
Commenting on the news Sajjad said:
“Whilst the Government has already committed many millions of pounds to flood relief I am delighted that my constituents will now have the opportunity to benefits from this additional EU funding which is one of the benefits of our membership of the EU.
Sajjad, whose home suffered minor flooding over Christmas, has visiting flood struck areas, went on to say:
“As a local MEP I am duty bound to try to obtain the fullest support for my constituents following this catastrophe. I know there is overwhelming support from our local councils and affected residents for this application to go ahead.
“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”
Sajjad said “The Minister confirmed the Government has taken time to evaluate the full costs and there has been a delay in getting information from Scotland. We have been seeking clarification on exactly and by how much a successful bid for EUSF would affect our rebate but it is now clear there will be a considerable net gain and the Government will meet the 12 week application deadline. I am also pressing for emergency funds like the EUSF to be exempt from any effect on our EU rebate.”