Sturgeon To Visit Flood Hit North East
8 January 2016, 16:51
The First Minister will visit the north-east of Scotland on Saturday to outline further support for those affected by the flooding.
The area has been hit by heavy rain, causing severe disruption to travel, the evacuation of homes in some parts of Aberdeenshire and two severe flood warnings for Inverurie and Kintore.
It follows flooding across other parts of the country, including Tayside and the Borders, as a result of Storm Frank.
Nicola Sturgeon has been under pressure from opposition parties to spell out what extra funding will be allocated to flood relief.
The Scottish Conservatives have called for a ministerial statement from Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, and for clarity on whether Scottish ministers intend to set up a Farming Recovery Fund to help with short-term damage.
Tory MSP Alex Fergusson said: ``The floods are having a devastating effect on families, individuals and businesses across Scotland, and it's been a really miserable time for those who have been affected.
"Ministers really need to be explaining what's going on. They are in charge and they have a responsibility to act.
"Councils are struggling with a lack of funding for future flood defences and farmers are still waiting for support cash months after the SNP promised it.
"This is why we're calling for a full ministerial statement to the Scottish Parliament.
"The Scottish Government must explain what is going on and how they intend to spend funds which are needed to help people right now.''
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes said: ``After the Scottish Government's resilience meeting last night, the Deputy First Minister said the committee was monitoring the situation very closely. But people here do not need ministers who are glued to their seats.
"The Deputy First Minister telling us additional funding will be made available to Aberdeenshire Council is welcome in the longer term.
"But this is an ever-changing emergency situation that requires urgent attention right now, and people here are wondering when the Scottish Government is going to sit up and take notice.''
Labour Group leader on Aberdeenshire Council Alison Evison said: ``This situation is desperate for families in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen.
"The SNP Government need to take action swiftly to help communities and to help all affected businesses and infrastructure across flooded areas.''
The UK Government announced in early December that £50 million would be made available to help flood victims, with almost #4 million given to the Scottish Government and used to help those affected by Storm Desmond.
A further £50 million was pledged by the UK Government at the end of the year, with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson stating that £5 million would be handed to Scottish ministers.
But the Scottish Government said it has not received clarity over whether a share of the funding will be allocated to Scotland under Barnett consequentials.
Speaking after chairing a meeting of the Scottish Government's resilience committee, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she will visit the north-east on Saturday.
She said: "Again I am impressed by the efforts of the emergency responders who are working round the clock to protect our communities.
"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting this effort and I plan to outline further assistance tomorrow when I meet those affected.''