Dec 10 2010
SNP should ‘Claim EU money to pay for the big clean up’
The SNP seem to be content sitting twiddling their thumbs whilst Scottish businesses begin counting the cost of the worst snowfall in 60 years.
The Scottish Government should be claiming millions in EU cash to help cover the costs of clearing up after the snow and ice chaos that has befallen the country over the last week.
Scotland would be eligible for money from the Solidarity Fund as the severe weather would qualify as an “extraordinary regional disaster” affecting the major part of the population with serious repercussions on the economic stability of the region.
The funding can be put towards costs related to transport, clean up and other necessary work to important infrastructure that has been damaged by the disaster.
Millions of pounds can be made available through the fund. Ireland has claimed over 13 million euro to cover costs in relation to severe flooding in November 2009.
A special pot of EU money is put aside by the European Commission to help cover the cost of extraordinary events that affect the economic stability of a specific region.
The Holyrood administration must ask the Treasury to apply for the emergency funding to help cover the cost of getting the country’s transport infrastructure up and running again. Only Member State national governments can apply for the fund, so any application would have to come from Westminster on the request of the Scottish government.
With temperatures as low as -18°C, this has been an extraordinary week for Scotland. The EU Solidarity Fund was set up to deal with exactly this sort of event, so the Scottish government should be putting in a claim.
The last week of disruption is costing the country dear; ministers should be doing anything that could help soften the blow as the clear-up bills start coming in.
With businesses unable to function and school closures keeping parents away from work, the weather is estimated to be costing the Scottish economy £15 million every day.
On top of that there are massive costs involved in reopening the country’s roads and getting public transport up and running again. EU funding has been claimed by countries like France, Spain and Ireland after severe weather events. Now is the time for Scotland to claim a share.
Why won’t the SNP government get of its backside and do something?