Socialist Worker

Suffering continues for Hull flood victims

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2075

Elderly victims of the summer flooding in Hull are facing further anguish as several residential homes and day care centres that were damaged by the floods are threatened with closure.

Residents at Rokeby House care home staged a protest last week after they were told they would be moved to the other side of the city.

The Liberal Democrat-run council has approved plans to knock down the home, saying it is not worth repairing.

Council-run Rokeby House faces a huge repairs bill of £250,000 – because it was not insured against floods or storms.

It appears that privatisation plans are behind the moves to close Rokeby House.

The council reassured residents that once the home is demolished it will be replaced by a new building at the site – but this would be independent of the council, meaning it would be privately run.

Barbara Fields, whose mother is a resident at Rokeby, said, “I believe they want to shut it down.”

Meanwhile, the council is being forced to repay thousands of pounds from the flood aid it received because Gordon Brown’s government refuses to exempt it from landfill tax.

Landfill

Because of the floods, Hull council had no option but to landfill around 2,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable debris left behind, which means it has to repay £50,000 in landfill tax. The council has called this “madness”.

The payments made to councils were never enough to deal with the damage in the first place.

In July Brown paid £14 million to Hull in a much hyped “flood aid package”. But Carl Minns, the council leader in Hull, estimates that £131 million is needed.

There are few plans for extra investment to prevent future flood disasters.

The national flood management budget for 2008-9 will be £650 million, yet the government’s own advisors have said that £1 billion is needed every year for flood defences.

Yorkshire’s flood defence board says that only 43 percent of Yorkshire’s flood defence systems are at the standard required and that spending on flood defences in the region will decline over the next two financial years.

Total spending by Yorkshire and Humber’s flood defence committee was £40 million in 2005 – this year it has fallen to £35 million.


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News
Tue 30 Oct 2007, 19:36 GMT
Issue No. 2075
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