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Flooding: Funding

Volume 743: debated on Wednesday 17 January 2024

2. What progress he has made on allocating funding to help tackle the impact of flooding in Northern Ireland. (900949)

In the absence of the Executive, this Government have made up to £15 million of support available for businesses and non-domestic properties through the reallocation of existing funding. It is for the Northern Ireland civil service and local councils to consider how to utilise the remaining funds to provide further support to businesses and non-domestic properties.

Building resilience for the future is vital if this Government are to address the challenges around climate change. York’s resilience measures cost over £100 million to protect my city this winter, but the estimated cost to businesses in Newry alone is £37 million as a result of the winter weather. When will the Minister bring forward a proper amount of money—not just £15 million, which may be a deposit—to ensure that Northern Ireland can build its resilience for the future?

I will answer in a couple of ways. First, only just over £1 million of that £15 million has been drawn down, which is a sign that the amount is sufficient. Secondly, the Northern Ireland civil service has recently announced that up to £10 million has been made available to assist small and medium sized businesses, with up to £100,000 available per business. The experience of her constituents—I have the figures in front of me—shows that this Government are committed to our infrastructure being ready for the future. That is partly why we are so keen to see the Executive back, with a large package to help support the stabilisation and transformation of public services, so we can get the kind of investment she refers to.