Chancellor announces plans to match funds for Lancashire flooding victims

DAMAGE: St Michaels on Wyre was flooded after heavy rains
DAMAGE: St Michaels on Wyre was flooded after heavy rains

George Osborne has announced plans to match donations to flood victims in Lancashire.

The Chancellor’s pledge means the Treasury has set aside £2m to help victims across the North West.

On Wednesday he announced the Government would match funds raised by the Cumbria Foundation’s Flood Appeal, up to £1m.

Mr Osborne later said he was extending the pledge to cover Lancashire and doubling the amount of money on the table following a request from Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace.

More than £500,000 has already been raised by community appeals across the region.

Mr Osborne said: “The Government is determined to stand by the communities affected by these devastating floods. That is why I am today doubling our pledge to match the money raised by local flood appeals to up to £2 million. That’s in addition to the £51 million of support I announced on Wednesday, with £5,000 for every affected household to repair and renew and £2,500 for every business. The great work also being done by local charities will help communities get back on their feet, and we’ll play our part in that too.”

Heavy rain battered Lancashire once again on Saturday, causing a small breach of temporary flood defences on the Wyre, at already-ravaged St Michael’s. The Environment Agency issued it’s highest level flood warning for the area in the evening and police advised those in high-risk properties to evacuate to Garstang Leisure Centre for the night.

In total, the rain led to 78 callouts in three hours for Lancashire Fire and Rescue on Saturday afternoon, including to three people struck in a car in water under Waddington Bridge near Clitheroe.

Public transport was also affected. The Preston Bus service 80 was suspended due to flooding in Great Eccleston and Elswick, and Northern Rail services between Blackburn and Clitheroe were blocked.