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North west traders slam lack of help over flooding

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Traders in the north west whose businesses were badly hit by severe flooding last August have claimed they have not received the same assistance as their counterparts in Belfast affected by the Primark fire

Traders in the north west whose businesses were badly hit by severe flooding last August have claimed they have not received the same assistance as their counterparts in Belfast affected by the Primark fire

Traders in the north west whose businesses were badly hit by severe flooding last August have claimed they have not received the same assistance as their counterparts in Belfast affected by the Primark fire

Traders in the north west whose businesses were badly hit by severe flooding last August have claimed they have not received the same assistance as their counterparts in Belfast affected by the Primark fire.

Compensation has not been provided to private business owners in the Derry and Strabane Council area because there was no Stormont minister to sign it off.

Despite the lack of a minister, the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, David Sterling, has invested £1.1m to help Belfast traders located close to the cordoned-off area around the Primark building.

However, the NI Executive Office has stressed that no money went directly to any traders, reiterating that it is being used to attract footfall into the city centre.

It also reiterated that £12m was spent by the Department for Infrastructure in the aftermath of the flood, adding this was for domestic households. "A new scheme for businesses would need to be approved by ministers. In their absence the civil service could not take forward such a scheme," a spokesperson explained.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has called for traders in areas like Eglinton and Drumahoe and farmers who bore the brunt of the freak flood to be given the same assistance on a retrospective basis.

"I don't think it's reasonable to compare money spent on essential infrastructural repairs with this initiative to give businesses in Belfast a much-needed boost," he said.

One of the dozens of businesses affected was Gavin Boyd's printing business in Drumahoe, which was so badly damaged by the flood he had to relocate his firm.

"I moved to new premises on higher ground to minimise the chance of that every happening to me again, but anything I did, I did by myself, with no assistance from a government department."

Belfast Telegraph