Government slammed by councillor over response to Storm Arwen

A county councillor representing the most northern town in England has criticised the Government’s “wholly inadequate” response to Storm Arwen.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 11:40 am
Coun Georgina Hill.

Georgina Hill, an independent for the Berwick East division, has joined others slating the response as parts of Northumberland and other North East areas are still without power after 10 days – saying that the situation would have been very different if it had been the south of the country affected.

Her comments come as the Army has been called upon to help with the support efforts led by Northumberland County Council.

Coun Hill, who set-up a petition urging the Government to not forget the “Real North” some months ago, said: “The petition (you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/do-not-forget-the-real-north) is a bit tongue in cheek, but there is a very serious point and that is the failure of the Government to recognise where the real north of the country is – they often boast of investing in the north but for those of us living in the most northern parts, the areas they refer to are basically the Midlands or north Midlands.

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“Things have taken a much more serious turn in the aftermath of the storm. The wholly inadequate response simply would not been allowed to happen if it had been in the south.

“The Government talk of “levelling” things up, but their actions do not match the rhetoric and their attitude to Northumberland, and the rest of the very north, does not seem that far removed to what it would have been in a Tudor court.”

The county council, the voluntary sector and other partner agencies including Northumberland Fire and Rescue, Mountain Rescue and Northumbria Police have been helping to visit those identified as most vulnerable in the areas affected, setting up Community Hubs since the storm, but it was determined that more help was needed.

The Army is now supporting those teams already out in our communities with around 80 soldiers helping to deliver information and support.

An extension to MACA (Military Aid to Civil Authority) support has been requested by the council.

Chief executive Daljit Lally said: “The focus remains on supporting our communities in our hardest hit areas and our most vulnerable residents.

“Northumberland is very much the area of focus for Northern Powergrid and have called in further support from areas across the country.”