To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what special financial provision he is prepared to make in order to avoid a repetition of the evacuation of homes and damage to property caused by the recent flooding of the River Cart in Glasgow.
Regional and islands councils have powers under the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act 1961 to carry out works to protect against flooding. Grants are already available towards the eligible costs of approved flood prevention schemes.
That response displays a cynical disregard for my constituents in Langside and Battlefield, who last month once again suffered disruption from flooding. The Minister knows that Strathclyde regional council is being forced to cut £60 million from its budget over the next two years and that it cannot even meet its statutory obligations, never mind perform discretionary activities such as flood prevention. Why will not the Minister agree to exceptional grant assistance being made available to deal with this urgent matter?
I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman that White Cart water would certainly be carefully considered if Strathclyde included such a proposal in its plan. The hon. Gentleman gives a misleading picture of Strathclyde's resources. At the end of the present three-year period, the council's budget for water and sewerage will have risen to £71 million—58 per cent. higher than it was last year. It is up to the regional council to decide whether to give the scheme high priority.