Spend money in UK, not Bangladesh, urges Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk


Money needs to be spent in this country rather than in developing ones, according to Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who has said more could have been done to prevent the flooding.

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester in the aftermath of the devastation which hit his Rochdale constituency, he said: "Why do we spend money in Bangladesh when it needs spending in Great Britain? What we need to do is to sort out the problems which are occurring here and not focus so much on developing countries. That has to be our priority."

He said the flooding had been "awful" for people, adding: "We need to put that right as soon as possible."

His comments come after further severe flood warnings were issued for parts of the North West of England.

In the Croston area of Lancashire, there are fears that the banks of the River Douglas could collapse.

The Environment Agency has issued three severe flood warnings for the area - meaning a danger to life.

Although today is likely to be drier than recent days, the warnings have been issued as a precautionary measure following water flowing from a breach in the River Douglas defences, north of the railway line and Rufford.

Over the weekend, Rochdale was one of the worst-affected areas.

Flood defences at Rochdale substation were upgraded in 2010 as part of a £468,000 scheme to protect power supplies against a "one-in-200-year" flood.

Mr Danczuk said that although the Environment Agency had been pressed to do more prevention work, because of cutbacks we "could not expect that to happen".

He said: "It's been awful, terrible for people who have been affected, we need to put that rights as soon as possible.

"It's all about prevention - I think more could have been done, I don't think there's any doubt about that. I think the Environment Agency could have done more to prepare for this. We would have anticipated this and concerns were raised with the Environment Agency."

After the severe flooding in Rochdale, engineers from Electricity North West worked round the clock to repair damage to flooded substations and to re-route supplies to restore power.

The company said it has now successfully restored supplies to more than 23,000 customers.

Paul Bircham, strategy director for Electricity North West, said: "I'd like to thank customers for their understanding and their goodwill to our teams during what continues to be an enormously challenging time for everyone involved. We are immensely proud of the area and the people we serve in the way they have dealt with this incident."

This morning Prime Minister David Cameron will tour communities in the North of England left devastated as a result of Storm Eva and Desmond and Mr Danczuk said he hoped the visit would help focus on providing funding for those affected.

The MP added that he hoped that the area would benefit from a compensation scheme like Cumbria.

The Government is to provide £40 million funding to help repair and rebuild flood-damaged roads and bridges in Cumbria and Lancashire.

The Department for Transport (DfT) will provide the funding to help communities recover from the effects of the two storms by helping to fund the repairs to key local transport infrastructure.

Mr Danczuk added: "That prevention work has to be done and it hasn't been done and it has been raised on numerous occasions. The Environment Agency has been pressed to do that work but hasn't been able to do it because of funding - you can't cut back on (infrastructural projects) and not expect flooding to happen."

With more rain forecast for the middle of the week, there may be worse to come and the Environment Agency has more than 25 severe flood warnings in place.

On Twitter, it reiterated the dangers of floods, tweeting: "Remember to stay away from flood water. Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet. #floodaware".

As yellow warnings for rain on Wednesday are in place for areas of northern England, communities continue to rally together in their clean-up operation.

In Whalley, in the Ribble Valley, the River Calder has now receded after wreaking havoc on businesses and residents on Boxing Day.

The Whalley & District Lions Club was meeting on Monday morning to help those affected by the floods in the Billington area, urging people to give up their time.

Donations of cleaning products such as mops and buckets are being taken as well as blankets, water and sleeping bags.