Borders politicians ask First Minister to help flooded areas

Local politicians, John Lamont MP and Rachael Hamilton MSP, have written to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, to ask for help for flooded areas such as Newcastleton.

The letter comes after Storm Dennis battered the Borders and led to severe flooding and some of the highest river levels on record. As well as damage to houses and property, roads were virtually impassable and Newcastleton was effectively cut off from the rest of the Borders. This has meant both cars and public transport have been having to use lengthy diversions to get to Hawick or Jedburgh from Newcastleton.

Given the extent of the damage, both Lamont and Hamilton have asked the First Minister to consider a fund similar to that in Wales. A fund of £10 million was made available by the Welsh First Minister to support residents, businesses and high streets who were impacted by the storms, as well as help local authorities to deal with the clean-up and any urgent infrastructure repairs.

The plight of those affected by flooding in the Borders have already been raised in the Scottish and UK Parliaments. Mrs Hamilton questioned the Rural Affairs Minister, Mairi Gougeon MSP, on the Scottish Government’s response. Whilst Mr Lamont raised the issue of the collapsed building in Hawick with the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Theresa Villiers MP.

Commenting John Lamont MP said: “It was sobering to see the severity of the damage to local communities after Storm Dennis. This was particularly apparent in Hawick and Newcastleton. Around 105 homes have been affected in Newcastleton alone showing the widespread damage this has caused on a small community.

“We have been very lucky that local resilience teams, emergency services and community volunteers have been on hand to help out. We have also seen the generosity of Borderers through online fundraising.

“I hope that the Scottish Government will seriously consider helping out these communities financially. The First Minister has seen first hand the damage done when she visited a few weeks ago and hopefully this will help her see the good that government help would do.”

Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “The First Minister will be well aware of the devastation caused by the flood water in the Borders. Many people had to be moved from their homes and have lost a lot of their valuables.

“The Borders was one of the worst affected areas in Scotland and I believe the Scottish Government now need to step in and help deal with the damage to people’s homes and businesses.

“Road surfaces, pavements, mobile and broadband infrastructure are all affected. This is not to mention the problems the destruction will be having on people’s mental and physical wellbeing which will also be taking its toll.”

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Letter to the First Minister 419.29 KB