Live: Call for ‘urgent action’ on flood defences and response after Storm Babet

The Scottish Conservatives have called a Holyrood debate to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

There have been calls for improved flood defences and responses in the wake of Storm Babet after seven people died and hundreds lost their homes.

Ahead of a debate on Wednesday, Conservative North East MSP Maurice Golden said the Scottish Government’s statement in response to the storm was “just a rehash of existing initiatives”.

The storm caused disruption across the UK, with Brechin in Angus bearing the brunt of the flooding after dozens of families were forced to leave their homes.

Storm Babet claimed the lives of seven people in Britain, including three in Scotland.

Golden said: “Storm Babet has left a terrible trail of destruction in its wake – there was widespread damage to infrastructure, families were forced to evacuate from their homes, and, tragically, people lost their lives.

“The impact on the north-east of Scotland in particular has been utterly devastating.

“Flood defences were found wanting during the storm and, after it, we saw an inadequate response from the SNP Government. (Cabinet minister) Angela Constance’s statement to Parliament was full of warm words but no new announcements – just a rehash of existing initiatives.

“We must see urgent action now – both in dealing with the aftermath of the storm and to mitigate the damage of future extreme weather events.”

Golden urged First Minister Humza Yousaf to ensure local authorities are properly funded to respond.

He said: “Humza Yousaf must properly support stricken areas. Repairs and rehousing will cost millions in the months ahead, yet Scotland’s local authorities are already looking at gaping holes in their budgets thanks to brutal SNP cuts.

“Local authorities have had their budgets hollowed out by the SNP and this has hindered their ability to prepare for floods.

“The Scottish Conservatives are committed to a fair funding deal for councils and our Communities Bill would introduce this.

“We would also work to build better local resilience and co-ordination with emergency responders to prepare for future extreme weather, as well as setting up local climate resilience funds.

“It’s little wonder people feel neglected by the SNP-Green Government. On a host of issues – broken promises on dualling trunk roads and broadband rollout, agriculture uncertainty and botched energy policy – rural communities have been repeatedly let down by this failing SNP-Green Government.”

During a visit to Brechin in the aftermath of the storm, Yousaf pledged to provide the necessary support to councils in order to help those impacted.

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