New Ferry: PM urged to visit 'forgotten' blast site

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Twelve ambulances and up to 40 firefighters dealt with the aftermath of the explosion

Theresa May has been urged to visit the victims of a major gas blast who have been left feeling "abandoned" after the "forgotten disaster" on Merseyside.

Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram said the prime minister should "see for herself" the damage caused by the New Ferry explosion on 25 March.

The government recently said it would not give funds to victims of the blast, in which 33 were hurt, two seriously.

Nobody from the Prime Minister's office was available for comment.

Mr Rotheram said: "People in New Ferry feel ignored and abandoned.

"They believe that this is the forgotten disaster and that their plight is somehow considered to be less important and less worthy of attention than other recent higher profile and larger disasters.

"People have lost everything through no fault of their own, and in these circumstances, I believe it is the duty of a civilized and compassionate government to step in and help.

"I am urging the Prime Minister to visit New Ferry so she can speak to the local community and personally witness the devastation caused by the gas blast, with the hope of providing some financial support to families and businesses so they can get their lives back on track."

Wirral Council says it has so far spent £300,000 on the recovery effort.

On 24 July Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry wrote that the explosion did not meet the government's threshold for providing financial support for emergency response costs.

"For an incident of this size and impact we would expect these costs to be covered using existing local resources," he wrote.

Council leader Phil Davies said the lack of central government support was "heartless".

Image source, PA
Image caption,
All residents who were forced to leave their homes have now been re-housed

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