Flood aid spending too slow: Labour
Labour has claimed just £400,000 of a £10 million pot allocated to help farmers recover from the winter flooding has so far been spent.
Shadow environment minister Angela Smith claimed in the Commons the poor rate of work made a mockery of Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to spend as much as necessary after parts of Somerset were under water for weeks.
But Environment Minister Dan Rogerson insisted money was being repaid to farmers after work was completed, not before it started.
Ms Smith said: "The Government's response to the winter floods was slow and chaotic yet four months on parliamentary answers from your own department show of the £10 million pledged by the Prime Minister to Somerset farmers, only £403,000 has been paid out and only £2,320 has been paid out to one fisherman in the south west.
"The Prime Minister has gone from money is no object to out of sight, out of mind. What will your department do to ensure people get the help they were promised?"
Mr Rogerson replied: "This was not money for farmers only in Somerset, it was for farmers across the country - we have received applications from the north, from the east, from other counties in the south west as well.
"Those applications are being approved, they will be paid once the work is carried out. Unless you wish to interfere in those farming businesses and tell them they must carry it out in the next week, we will have to wait until the work is carried out before we can pay them."