Flooding and food banks on agenda

Maria Eagle, left, with Liz Wood and Josh Fenton-Glynn in Hebden Bridge
Maria Eagle, left, with Liz Wood and Josh Fenton-Glynn in Hebden Bridge

Maria Eagle, the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, heard first-hand the devastating effects that flooding has had on our local economy when she visited Hebden Bridge on Monday.

Ms Eagle spoke to Liz Wood, the landlady at the White Swan, to hear Ms Wood’s personal account of the recent floods that have hit the village and the problems local businesses have had securing flood insurance.

“One of the issues up here is the way the uplands are being managed. We’re getting a lot of extra water running off because the uplands aren’t being managed perhaps as well as they should be,” she said.

“One of the ways we can stop flooding in Hebden Bridge is to stop the water from running off the hills.

“We’re going to establish a national infrastructure commission that will focus on investment into flood defences over a 30-year period.”

Ms Eagle was also in Hebden Bridge to drum up support for Labour’s Parliamentary candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn.

Mr Fenton-Glynn said: “The failure to consider us in the flood insurance has been seriously damaging for our community.

“If I’m elected as MP I’ll fight for the best deal for businesses and homeowners affected by flooding and make sure we get the best for our communities.”

During her visit to Calderdale, Ms Eagle also visited the Ebenezer Centre food bank, Halifax, to hear stories from users and volunteers.

She said: “Relying on food banks has gone up from 41,000 to almost a million - I’ve been going around the country to find out why there has been such a big increase.

“About 60 per cent of people who go to food banks go there because of delays in benefit payments or benefit sanctions.

“A fifth of people who go to food banks nationally are in work, but they don’t get paid enough to afford their food when something goes wrong.

“We’ve got to get rid of the bedroom tax on day one of a Labour government.

“We’re the sixth richest country in the world, we shouldn’t be having a million people having to rely on food aid.”