Flooding: Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab? There’s an EU fund!

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

It seems that David ‘Money Is No Object’ Cameron is unnecessarily forcing British taxpayers to fork out for flood relief while European officials scratch their heads and wonder why he isn’t taking advantage of a huge EU fund that is available to us.

We should all know why the comedy Prime Minister is avoiding Europe – he doesn’t want to lose face.

Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party across the UK criticise our membership because we pay so much in and take so little out (in their perception); this argument would be defeated if Cameron actually used the fund in the manner for which it was created and he would then lose support from members of his Parliamentary party.

Also, at a time when the UK’s future in Europe is being questioned, it would be “politically sensitive” (as Reuters describes it) for Cameron to go there and ask for a handout.

But governments are judged on the way they deal with crises (as the Political Rant blog put it) – and this one has put Cameron, figuratively as well as literally, between the rock and the river.

According to Reuters: “Asked whether Britain would ask for EU money, Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters on Wednesday the government was looking at every source of possible funding, playing down the idea that there was anything political behind it.

“Under EU rules, a country has 10 weeks from the first damage caused by a natural disaster to request aid.

“A person close to Cameron said there were technical grounds to do with spending thresholds that determined when to apply for a grant. Britain had no desire to get into a war of words with Brussels on the matter, he said.”

The news agency added that the government had deployed the armed forces to evacuate residents and shore up river defences, while under fire from critics for what ministers have acknowledged was a slow initial response.

Political Rant is less diplomatic (as you might expect): “Ken Clarke said it was just a normal winter and people complaining about flood defences were just a ‘lynch mob’. Eric Pickles criticised the Environment Agency while the Environment Agency criticised government cuts and Owen Paterson criticised Eric Pickles.

“David Cameron has undertaken several jaunts in his nice clean wellies, first to Kent just after Christmas where he was harangued by people left waist-deep in water without power for a week, then Somerset which he only visited after Prince Charles had been the day before, making it look rather silly the Prime Minister hadn’t bothered, and … to Cornwall where, a friend tells me, Railtrack diverted engineers who were supposed to be fixing the washed-out rail line at Dawlish to shake hands with the PM at a rail depot.

“The same PM has talked sadly about how a power cut interrupted his viewing of The Sound of Music on New Year’s Day while staying silent about two SSE engineers who said they were diverted from reinstating the power for 11,000 people to locate his trip switch.

“When the floods recede, we are more than likely to find a few people who died.”

Yes, and they’ll be in rural areas because the increased funds Cameron has announced amount only to a slightly smaller cut than he had originally intended, and the funding formula for flood defences demands £8 of economic benefit for every £1 spent – meaning a concentration on densely-populated urban areas.

Add to that the fact that Cameron only bothered to act when Conservative-voting areas were affected – the Somerset Levels, Windsor, Reading, Oxdfordshire, Surrey, Kent – and couldn’t care less when the waters were hitting places like Scunthorpe (as revealed on the BBC’s Question Time yesterday) and Cameron has put himself in a serious political mire.

He has made it clear that his is a government that only looks after its own supporters.

Everyone else can drown.

We won’t forget that.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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15 thoughts on “Flooding: Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab? There’s an EU fund!

  1. Paul Smyth

    Reblogged this on The Greater Fool and commented:
    All those people out there screaming about the EU need to realise that there’s a fund that we qualify for and are entitled to draw from for this. Cameron won’t apply though because it doesn’t fit his anti EU agenda so we have to stump up instead.

  2. jaypot2012

    This is all going to come back and by 2015 (if he lasts that long) – he’ll be the one that sinks!
    We just need another big incident to happen and you’ll find him sitting in a corner gibbering that everybody hates him – which isn’t true of course as his wife must see something in him, and Georgie boy looks at him with such passion. Having said that, the rest do hate him, even his so called friends…

  3. Guy Ropes

    This subject was discussed on BBCRadio 4’s ‘Today’ programme this week. Apparently the Welsh Government has applied for help from this fund some weeks ago. This info, I believe came from Graham Watson(?) a Lib Dem

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  6. Paul Perrin (@pperrin)

    I understand your point, but EU money is *ALSO* taxpayers money… Every penny the government gives to flooded communities (whether from local, national or EU ‘funds’) is money that the government originally *took* from those communities – and (no doubt) the communities would have spent it on better flood defences already had it not been taken!

    1. Mike Sivier

      You make a good point, up to the part where you say communities would have spent the money on better flood defences if it hadn’t been taken.
      We know from experience that this does not happen. It is better for groups of people (of varying size) to set money aside in particular funds for this purpose. In that way, we can ensure that it does get spent properly and that everyone contributes and benefits.
      The only relevant question is why Cameron never bothered to tap into the EU fund, which is – as you rightly say – partly composed of UK taxpayers’ money.

      1. Paul Perrin (@pperrin)

        Why do you automatically assume that the individuals wouldn’t have pooled their funds towards flood defence if the government hadnt usurped responsibilty and the the funds for it?

        There are millions of groups/organisations etc that operate without government invovolvement.

        The fire brigade started as a private non-government organisation, the RNLI still are…

        The government took money used it unwisely and now, belatedly, returns some of it…

      2. Mike Sivier

        Are you telling me that somebody DID pool their funds and put them towards flood defence, in anticipation that they wouldn’t get any other help?
        Okay – let’s see your proof.

      3. Paul Perrin (@pperrin)

        I don’t currently pool my private funds for police, firebrigade, army, air-force, navy, roads, flood defence, medicine, etc etc… Know why? cos the government tell me they cover these things, and use this to ‘justify’ their coercive taxes – so have already taken the money I might use to do so.

        I do pool funds for life insurance, RNLI, house insurance, car insuracne, mortgage etc, etc… and I do so to a level that *I* choose to do so, based on *my* priorites but have to do so from the little the state hasn’t already extorted from me.

        Oh, I did pool my funds for my kids education (with other customers of a particluar private school) – despite having already paid the state to provice that service – but that was because the state failed to provide the service promised (surprise, surprise) and I was prepared to make sacrifices to pay *all over again* to get my kids a decent education.

        Simple really eh?

      4. Mike Sivier

        From the above, I take it that you are trying to hide the fact that your answer to my simple question is no.

        Have any other readers been following this dialogue? If so, how do YOU read Paul’s answer?

        Paul – don’t answer this. You’ve had your say for now and I want to know whether other readers see this as I do.

Comments are closed.