Responding to the announcement, the Upper Bann representative said:
“This is a welcome step by the Secretary of State and follows our Party meeting with Chris Heaton-Harris yesterday in London to press for such emergency support.
Businesses have been plunged into despair by the unprecedented flooding witnessed last week. They have been crying out for help, and today should offer some hope that support is forthcoming, and they will be given that assistance to start to get back to business again.
We will be engaging with the NIO over the coming to ensure this package is not overly burdensome and bureaucratic. Indications are that Councils will be tasked with administering this funding, and that should help shape local solutions. We need a straightforward scheme that delivers support in a timely manner.
This is good news, but it unlikely to be enough. That will become apparent soon and if more is needed, the Government may well have to step up again. Furthermore, we need funding to support alleviation schemes that allow significant capital investment in protecting businesses and households from future flooding.”
Diane Forsythe MLA said,
“This is a welcome first step by the Government and recognition of the damage done to livelihoods across Northern Ireland. The flooding last week was catastrophic for businesses who have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock as well as their premises.
We had a useful and constructive engagement with the Secretary of State and his officials, and we will be working with Northern Ireland Departments and local government to get finer details about how the scheme will work.
This is not new money however. It is a reallocation of capital money as revenue, but capital budgets are already stretched in every NI Department. In the longer-term Northern Ireland will require greater financial allocation and firepower to make the kind of necessary investments to safeguard these communities in the future.”