Emergency financial support scheme needed for businesses affected by flooding, say Brown and McMurray

There needs to be an emergency financial support scheme for businesses affected by recent flooding across Northern Ireland, Alliance representatives Patrick Brown MLA and Councillor Andrew McMurray have said.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council South Down Andrew McMurray Patrick Brown Flooding

Flooding has caused serious disruption across Counties Down, Armagh and Antrim, with many areas of Newry particularly affected in recent days, leaving some businesses without flood insurance due to previous flooding in the city.

Mr Brown said the situation had been exacerbated by the lack of an Executive, meaning an inability to create a strategic response to the crisis and properly invest in infrastructure.

“The flooding seen across Northern Ireland has been shocking, with it being particularly unprecedented in Newry and South Down,” said Mr Brown.

“Whilst households can access an emergency support scheme of up to £1,000, Alliance has contacted the Departments of Infrastructure and Finance for urgent clarification on what will be put in place to support businesses, many of whom have lost thousands in stock and equipment from these floods. That could be in the form of rate relief or additional discretionary support.

“There is no doubt the lack of an Executive and Ministers is exacerbating the situation. A more strategic approach would allow proper investment in our infrastructure to improve rainwater management systems and rehabilitate our sewers, helping prevent such scenes reoccurring. In the absence of that, Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris needs to step up and provide leadership to ensure Northern Ireland receives the financial support required to recover from the impact of this flooding.”

Councillor McMurray said the local Alliance team had been working closely with those leading the multi-agency response to the flooding and urged anyone affected to seek the help available.

“I want to thank the Council and other agencies for their work on this issue, as they have been working around the clock to support businesses and households affected. Now in the absence of an Executive, we need the Secretary of State to step up and provide the financial support to allow local recovery to take place.

“These floods are as a direct result of climate change and our inability to improve our infrastructure. With extreme weather events increasing and no Executive in place to invest in what needs improved, it’s likely we will see similar events across Northern Ireland in future.

“In the meantime, I urge anyone affected by the floods to ring the Floodline on 03002000100, where they can report flooding, request sand bags and find out more about the household assistance scheme. I would also encourage everyone to follow PSNI advice and avoid all but essential travel. Our Alliance local council team will continue to support people as required.”