Flood recovery fund launched

FARMERS in 1066 Country affected by recent flooding are to benefit from a £10 million cash boost.

This week, Hastings MP Amber Rudd welcomed Whitehall’s announcement to set up the Farming Flood Recovery Fund.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the fund is part of a comprehensive package of measures to help hard-working people in flood-hit areas following the wettest winter on record. It will open today (Friday) to provide assistance with four key areas of recovery, namely the restoration of productive grassland, arable and horticultural land, restoring farm vehicle access to fields, and improvements to agricultural drainage.

Under this new scheme, all farmers affected by the flooding will be able to apply for emergency funding of up to £5,000, covering up to 100 per cent of their business costs.

Ms Rudd said: “I welcome the news that farmers affected by the flooding will be able to get some compensation. The financial support already provided by the Government to businesses and households affected by the storms will be vital for their rebuilding and the rebuilding of the communities they are a part of.

“In addition I believe that similar support must be provided for our fishermen in Hastings and Rye. I have written to the Prime Minister asking him look into this. I told him that the storms have had a colossal impact on those in the fishing industry, particularly the smaller fleets.

“Fishermen in areas such as Hastings and Rye who have suffered a loss of earnings and equipment should be able to apply for hardship funds in the same way that other small businesses who have been affected by the floods elsewhere are able to.”

In the south east, 92 per cent of the fishing vessels are under ten metres and many have been unable to go out to sea at all for two months. This has had a knock-on effect on those who rely on the industry for their own businesses.

Jerry Percy, chief executive of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association, said: “Amber is entirely correct that the local under 10-metre fleet has suffered disproportionately because of the recent storms.

“They have been unable to get to sea to make a living for many months and onshore the supply infrastructure is failing through lack of supplies to buyers and processors.

“Some fishermen are on the edge of survival and they desperately need similar financial support to that which farmers and other rural businesses can already access.”