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Prime Minister David Cameron: My heart goes out to those hit by floods in Gloucestershire

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 18, 2014

  • David Cameron at Gloucestershire police HQ

  • LISTENING IN: Prime Minister David Cameron talks to Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson at The Queens Head pub, Longford

  • CLOSER LOOK: David Cameron in Upton-upon-Severn with Dafydd Evans of the Environment Agency

  • BALANCING ACT: A resident leaves Abbey Mill, Tewkesbury

  • FROM THE SKIES: An aerial view over Tewkesbury

  • David Cameron in Worcester yesterday

  • David Cameron in Longford

  • LISTENING IN: Prime Minister David Cameron talks to Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson at The Queens Head pub, Longford

  • David Cameron in Gloucestershire yesterday

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HOMEOWNERS suffering from flooding in Gloucestershire were visited by Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday as more rain is forecast for the county this week.

Mr Cameron stopped off at the Queens Head, in Longford, to meet residents and Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson, before making his way to the Gloucestershire TriService Emergency Centre, at Waterwells, Quedgeley.

Mr Cameron told the Echo: "My heart goes out to those who have been affected.

"It has caused a lot of tragedy and heartbreak.

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"We have been investing a lot of money into the flood defences than ever before.

"We have spent £2.4billion in the current four-year period on flood defences.

"We have seen a massive improvement in the defences.

"Homes in Tewkesbury this time round have been better."

He also went on to say that he noticed 'bravery and courage' from residents.

When asked if he would plan a holiday in the South West this year, he replied that he would take a trip down in the summer with his family and Tewkesbury Abbey was a favourite.

Mr Cameron also announced further support for businesses in areas affected by flooding yesterday.

The new Business Support Scheme worth up to £10million will provide hardship funding for small and medium-sized businesses in areas affected by the floods.

Extra time will also be given for businesses to file accounts without any penalties.

A Government Business Support Helpline will be set up to provide comprehensive advice and support to businesses affected by floods.

Mr Cameron said: "We are learning from these important lessons and we have signed up to more scheme to see if more can be done."

Mr Robertson said he talked to the Prime Minister about how it is important to avoid building in flood risk areas – or even land close to such areas.

"The Prime Minister said that he would write to me to set out the flexibility which councils have on this issue," said Mr Robertson.

"We also spoke about dredging and de-silting and the Prime Minister was very sympathetic to the idea.

"He feels that the Environment Agency should now respond appropriately to such requests from local communities.

"The meetings I had with the Prime Minister were very useful and constructive.

"He was very concerned about the situation we find ourselves in and took on board what we said about house building and the Environment Agency.

"I look forward to following up on these matters with him over the next few days and weeks."

Phil Haynes, silver command for Gloucestershire police, said: "It is good that David Cameron saw for himself rather than read reports and he can see the affect it has been on Tewkesbury.

"He noticed how all the different agencies are working together.

"He spoke to us during a meeting about the key issues and a the new scheme.

"The key thing for him was that we are all working together."

Mr Cameron's visit came as Gloucestershire County Council allocated £50,000 for flood victims in the county.

It is putting the money into a relief grant fund to help people whose homes have been hit by flooding.

It is offering up to £1,000 per flooded property to help replace damaged furniture and essentials or to help with the most immediate needs.

Councillor Vernon Smith (C, Tewkesbury East), cabinet member for highways and flood, said: "We're doing as much as we can out on the ground to help people who are affected by the flooding but we know there are people whose homes or properties have been damaged.

"That's why we are committing up to £50,000 to help people in the community respond to issues relating to flooding in their properties in their recent event.

"This is reinforcing our ongoing commitment to flood alleviation and supporting flood victims since 2007."

Anyone wanting to apply for the funding should visit gloucestershire.gov.uk/floodfund in the first instance and register their details.

The council will then be in contact to discuss the application.

Officials at Shire Hall said the council had spent over £45 million on flood alleviation work since 2007.

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8 comments

  • MrDuffer  |  February 19 2014, 1:15PM

    Rule One -Don't by a house on a flood plain Rule Two - Don't buy a house near a river or stream or water course Rule Three - Don't expect everyone to feel sorry for you because you have 6" of water in your kitchen because there is always someone else worse off than you and finally Rule Four - But a house so far above sea level that it will never never flood...Oh I've done that...and stayed nice and dry Idiots

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  • norman937  |  February 18 2014, 8:30PM

    Camerons heart does not go out at all.He has been totaly heartless with anything he tackles.Not just the floods,but the incompitance of the NH bosses who will be reward,and the jobs merry go rounds.Even to employing his school chums on £100k funded by the tax payers.However that is small change when you look at the HS2 boss,whose job has not even started,and the mobility boss on a staggering £1,600,000 pa.between them,of course funded by the tax payers.Nice one Dave,leave by the back door,shut it quietly on the way out and be careful not to catch your fingers.

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  • uk_socrates  |  February 18 2014, 12:42PM

    Since when did floods become so political? This is ridiculous. If it rains a lot it will flood!. The government would need to spend billions not millions to put in half decent flood defenses, and even then there is never a 100% guarantee. When it flooded in 2007 there wasn't any political comments!

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  • Wazzamatter  |  February 18 2014, 12:17PM

    Cameron wasn't bothered by the floods in Somerset, but as soon as the Thames burst its banks and the Tory faithful were being affected, CaMoron decided he'd better appear on the scene. Of course, he was then criticised for ignoring the plight of the people on the Somerset levels, so he went ther to pay lip service. Being there won't make anything better, spending money on the problem is the only way to fix it. The worse thing he said was that the river where he lives in Witney has been dredged twice since the 2007 floods. Now the Somerset locals hate him more than ever. There are certain things that are guaranteed, and amongst them are the facts that CaMoron won't be the leader of the Tories after the next general election, simply because when Labour or Tories lose a general election, they immediately have an election for a new leader, and the Tories don't stand much of a chance of winning.

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  • Lecorche  |  February 18 2014, 11:08AM

    Cameron's heart only went into panic mode when the Thames Valley got clobbered. The Somerset Levels were ignored for the many months before London got threatened with a lack of commuters. Have no doubt that David Cameron is just playing to the crowd and is only worried about losing his job.

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  • TimMessanger  |  February 18 2014, 9:02AM

    Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson you would appear to be a fool, you spoke to the PM about "dredging and de-silting and the Prime Minister was very sympathetic to the idea." pathetic is more like it. "He feels that the Environment Agency should now respond appropriately to such requests from local communities." So what he's saying in affect is that we should waste the scarce budget we have for flood related work on dredging rivers that will have little to no effect on large flooding events like we have just had just on low level events and after each low level event the rivers will need to be redredged just imagine the costs! (Scramble for blame serves no-one - http://tinyurl.com/oldzewz) Yet again we have the case where Mr Pickles attacks the EA to try and gain brownie points saying it was a mistake to listen to the scientists (hydrologists) who make it their life's work to research the likes of river systems and flooding and as an obese man he knows better than scientists, maybe he ought to go on a diet to avoid the risks of cancer, diabetes and heart disease among others but that would be scientific advice. (BBC Panorama - http://tinyurl.com/owzczv5) What the politicians aren't saying is the policies in the Netherlands have changed and they are now allowing farm land to flood knocking down farms and building them on artificial "hills" so they will survive a flood. They will still get isolated during a flood event but they will survive. People don't forget that the south of the country is sinking and this may increase the effect of the projected sea level rises by between 10 and 30%. This will have a massive effect on the Severn estuary up to Gloucester. The defences failed at Minsterworth several times during the last flood event and this is set to get worse, just think what just an extra 20cm of water will do when it over tops the current defences!

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  • drewks  |  February 18 2014, 8:56AM

    ...not a fan then, Mark?

    Rate   9
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  • MarkWallace  |  February 18 2014, 8:06AM

    Cameron cut funding for flood prevention. He took weeks to act until he realised the Tory electorate were furious with him. Now he's touring the country oozing insincerity and talking down to people as though he's addressing a class of 5 year olds. Incompetent, out of touch and incapable of leadership

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