Author Topic: Ukip's Nigel Farage calls for foreign aid to help flood-hit communities  (Read 2528 times)

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552969/Ukips-Nigel-Farage-calls-foreign-aid-budget-used-help-flood-hit-communities.html

'Charity begins at home': Ukip's Nigel Farage calls for foreign aid budget to be used to help flood-hit communities

    Ukip leader condemns government's 'lethargic and inadequate' response
    Urges to use £11billion foreign aid budget to deal with 'colossal' damage
    Government announces £130million in new support for repairs
    David Cameron defends minister who visited floods without wellies

Britain’s foreign aid budget worth £11billion should be immediately suspended with the money diverted to help areas in the UK devastated by flooding, Nigel Farage said today.

The Ukip leader insisted ‘charity begins at home’ and urged the government to step up its response to the colossal damage to homes, businesses, roads and railways.

The call came as David Cameron was again forced to defend the government’s response from claims ministers have been slow to act and ill-prepared, even turning up to flood hit areas without wellington boots.

Heavy rain and gale force winds continue to batter much of southern Britain today, with new warnings of further flooding.

Homes across much of the Somerset Levels have been evacuated while ministers are drawing up an emergency plan to repair a vital rail link at Dawlish near Exeter after its collapse when huge waves whipped up by high winds smashed a 100ft section of sea wall.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today announced an extra £30million for this year and £100million next year to pay for repairs, urgent work in Somerset extra maintenance.

But Mr Farage insisted it was not enough. He said: ‘Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that a government’s primary duty is to the well-being of its own citizens. Charity begins at home and it is not mean-spirited to say that, it is just basic common sense.

‘The amount of damage caused by the floods and storms across a large swathe of the south west and other regions too is colossal.

‘Yet the Government’s response is both lethargic and inadequate. People would be forgiven for thinking that they don’t really care and that ordinary British families are not their priority.’

The government and the Environment Agency have faced mounting criticism for the handling of the floods and the response as more rain and high winds swept across the country.

Today Mr Cameron was forced to defend his response during an interview on BBC Radio Manchester.

He insisted: ‘We have been very pro-active we have an emergency planning system in government called cobra which we called on straight away.

‘We’ve been planning this across government. I chair a meeting yesterday which has everyone around the table, the police, the fire service, the local authorities, all ready to help with whatever we can.’

But the Prime Minister was critical of the Environment Agency's decision to cut back on dredging rivers over the past two decades.

'The fact is, since the Environment Agency was founded in the late 1990s, it took a view - and increasingly other organisations took a view - that dredging wasn't appropriate,'he said.

'I think that's wrong. I have a constituency that does flood frequently. I pushed for dredging and some dredging has taken place and it does make a difference.

'We've got to make sure that our system is focused on protecting people above all else, so some of the arguments against dredging have to be taken on and we need to start dredging again more systematically. The Environment Agency now accepts that.'

He added: 'The scale of these weather events and the scale of the flooding has shifted even more something that was beginning to shift anyway. The Environment Agency had taken a very anti-dredging view for many years. That was beginning to change and now it's changing faster, and that's something I welcome.'

Downing Street revealed the army could be called in to help rebuild the Dawlish railways line in Devon.