Scotland politics

Scottish government criticised in flood support row

Ellon floods
Image caption Ellon, pictured on Friday morning, has suffered from flooding

Opposition parties have accused Scottish ministers of being "glued to their seats" in their response to the floods affecting parts of the country.

Aberdeenshire is the latest area to be hit by serious flooding.

The UK government has said Scotland will get a share of a £50m relief package, but ministers have yet to announce details of help for victims.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would announce plans for support on a visit to the area on Saturday.

The Scottish Conservatives called for an emergency parliamentary statement on how relief money would be spent, although the SNP rebutted that the Treasury was yet to confirm how much extra funding was to be allocated to Scotland.

The Tories also pressed the first minister on the matter during her weekly question session on Thursday, with Ms Sturgeon describing the flooding as an "ongoing issue".

Resilience committee

Ms Sturgeon posted a message online saying she would announce details of Scottish government support for those affected by the flooding during a visit to the North East on Saturday.

She has also chaired a meeting of the Scottish government's resilience committee to discuss the matter.

Floods have affected areas right across Scotland, with Aberdeenshire, Tayside and the south all badly affected. It is estimated the recent storms could have cost the Scottish economy £700m so far.

Image copyright Nicola Sturgeon / Twitter
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon posted a message on Twitter saying she would set out details of government funding

The first minister said: "The unprecedented weather we have seen across Eastern Scotland has had a devastating impact on many people in our communities - with families forced to leave their homes and businesses fighting to protect their premises.

"Again I am impressed by the efforts of the emergency responders who are working round the clock to protect our communities.

"The Scottish government is committed to supporting this effort and I plan to outline further assistance tomorrow when I meet those affected."

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Media captionTorrents of water rage through streets in Inverurie

Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes, who lives in flood-hit Ellon, said Scottish ministers were "glued to their seats" over the issue.

She said: "Towns, villages and even Aberdeen have been cut off from one another and from the wider country. Many roads are impassable, trains are not running, schools are closed and power is out.

"After the Scottish government's resilience meeting last night, the deputy first minister said the committee was monitoring the situation very closely. But people here do not need ministers who are glued to their seats.

"This is an ever-changing emergency situation that requires urgent attention right now and people here are wondering when the Scottish government is going to sit up and take notice."

Image copyright Graeme Hart - PPA
Image caption Floods have affected various parts of the country over a wet couple of weeks

Alison Evison, Labour group leader on Aberdeenshire Council, said the situation for families in the area was "desperate".

She said: "The government need to take action swiftly to help communities and to help all affected businesses and infrastructure across flooded areas.

"It's also clear that given the scale of flooding across Scotland we need a review to ensure resilience of our flooding infrastructure, so we can better protect homes, businesses and communities in the future."

During parliamentary questions on the matter, Ms Sturgeon rejected Labour calls for a review of flood defences, saying work was in the pipeline and it was better to get on with it than hold a further review.

Image caption The River Ythan in Ellon caused flooding

The Scottish Conservatives have lodged a request with the Scottish Parliament for a full ministerial statement from cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead on how the government plans to fund flood relief efforts.

MSP Alex Fergusson said: "The floods are having a devastating effect on families, individuals and businesses across Scotland and it's been a really miserable time for those who have been affected.

"While they continue to wonder what help might be available from the Scottish government, my constituents are looking at all the help that people similarly affected south of the border are receiving from the UK government, and are wondering why the Scottish government aren't doing the same.

"Enough of the bluff and bluster, ministers really need to be explaining what's going on. They are in charge and they have a responsibility to act."

The SNP hit back at the Tories, saying the UK Treasury was yet to confirm how much additional funding was to be allocated to Scotland and accusing the Westminster government of "dragging their feet".

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