Government extends flood relief pledge to Lancashire

Sandbags were used to patch up the damage to the flood defences in St Michaels
Sandbags were used to patch up the damage to the flood defences in St Michaels

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.

On Friday night, Mr Osborne 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, including the Community Foundation for Lancashire’s Flood Recovery Fund’s Appeal, which launched on Tuesday.

Last night, 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 since the weekend devastated communities across the North West.

In St Michaels more than 20 properties were evacuated on Sunday night after the flood defences were breached twice.

Police said 'seven or eight' more were added to the list when fresh downpours saw river levels rise again on Thursday morning.

The military was drafted in to help rescue workers patch up the embankment ahead of further rain forecast on Saturday.

A severe flood warning, in place since Sunday, was downgraded following Thursday's floods and was no longer in force on Friday night.

In an update on Friday evening, the Environment Agency said: "The temporary repair on the breach in the flood defence has been completed. River levels have dropped significantly.

"Flood water in St Michaels village has been pumped away from properties. Further rain is expected tomorrow."

Footage taken from the police helicopter on Wednesday shows the extent of the damage caused by flooding in St Michaels.