Wales politics

Thatcher's relief cash call after Towyn and Kinmel Bay floods

North Wales coastal flooding in 1990
Image caption The 1990 flooding along the north Wales coast received media coverage across the UK

Margaret Thatcher intervened as prime minister to ask if more money could be paid into a fund for people affected by floods along the north Wales coast in 1990, government papers have revealed.

The evacuation of homes and businesses saw 2,000 flee the area after sea defences were breached.

Documents show she said the £50,000 from the Welsh Office seemed low and she suggested further contributions.

An area from Ffynnongroyw, Flintshire, to Pensarn, Abergele, was flooded.

High tides and extreme weather were responsible.

Papers released from 1990 show the floods were discussed by the Cabinet and Mrs Thatcher questioned whether the £50,000 given by the Welsh Office to the disaster fund set up by the Mayor of Colwyn was enough.

The Cabinet minutes, revealed in papers released by the National Archives, say the Welsh Office's contribution "seemed low" and ends with Mrs Thatcher asking the then Welsh Secretary Peter Walker to discuss with the Treasury what further contributions could made.

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Media captionThe 1990 documents were recently released by the National Archive

Mr Walker had told the Cabinet the Welsh Office had made a £50,000 donation, the Department of Social Security had made £100,000 available for social care grants, the European Commission would make a "generous donation" and the Prince of Wales had made a "personal" contribution.

The minutes say: "In a brief discussion, it was suggested that, given the scale of the disaster, the Welsh Office contribution to the disaster fund seemed low."

But the minutes also say this would be the first example of a government contribution to a disaster fund where there had been no loss of life and it could be seen as a precedent.

It adds: "It should not be seen as to provide any encouragement to private individuals to refrain from taking proper insurance cover against such disasters in the future."

The prime minister acknowledged these concerns, however, she believed a further donation should be considered.

"It would be unfortunate if the government were seen to be ungenerous in their response to this major disaster," she said.

The discussion ended with Mrs Thatcher asking the Welsh Secretary to speak to the Treasury about a further contribution.

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Image caption Margaret Thatcher did not want her government to be seen as "ungenerous" after the floods

Papers dated 21 June 1990 also reveal the Cabinet discussed a letter bomb campaign.

Ministers were told no one had claimed responsibility but the devices were similar to those previously used by "the Sons of Glendower Group of Welsh extremists".

Home Secretary David Waddington told colleagues four "low-level incendiary devices" had been delivered the previous day to two addresses in north Wales and to the Welsh Secretary David Hunt and the MP for Pembroke, Nick Bennett, in the House of Commons.

A woman in Abersoch had been slightly injured by one of the devices, while the other three had been "rendered safe" by the police.

During the Cabinet meeting it was reported a further device - similar to the one sent to the Welsh Secretary - had been delivered that morning to the home of the Conservative MP for Orpington, Ivor Stanbrook.

The device had "partially ignited" but no one had been injured.

The discussion concluded with a recommendation that any public statements on the issue should be "confined to confirming that the necessary precautions were being taken".

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