Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary paid a return visit to Carlisle today and warned the government that people expect “straight answers” on money to help the flood recovery effort.
Four months after her first visit alongside Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Kerry McCarthy MP joined Councillor Colin Glover, Leader of Carlisle City Council, on Caldewgate, scene of some of the worst flooding after Storm Desmond in December.
On the visit, Kerry McCarthy popped into the recently re-opened The Joiner’s Arms public house to meet landlady Marion Jones. The pub suffered severe water damage in the flood in 2005 and then again in December 2015 when five feet of water poured into the cellar and bar area. It re-opened in February thanks to the efforts of its owners and staff but lost the important Christmas and New Year trade.
Inside the pub, Kerry met with other local residents to hear about the flood recovery and the difficulties now faced to secure insurance.
After the visit, Kerry McCarthy MP, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary said:
"I was pleased to return to Carlisle today to see how the city is getting back on its feed following the terrible flooding. The spirit of the city was evident when I visited with Jeremy Corbyn back in December and I was pleased to see the progress, although there are still many issues that we have to pursue.
"The stories I heard from local people and Marion, the landlady of the Joiner’s Arms demonstrates the urgent need to help small business cope with the difficulty of getting affordable, comprehensive flood insurance in flood hit areas such as Carlisle. If small businesses can't get insurance then we risk turning large areas of the city into a ghost town. The government has come forward with Flood Re a scheme to help homeowners in flood-hit areas but that doesn't cover small business. Labour will be pressing the government to come forward with proposals to help small businesses survive in flood-hit communities.
"The government must also offer some clarity over flood recovery funding for Cumbria. Under pressure from Labour, the government promised to apply for EU solidarity funding which could release millions to Cumbria, but they are being less than clear now about what they have asked for and when it will arrive. They owe the people of Cumbria some straight answers on this."