Cupar floods: MSP blasts Scottish Government for taking flood victims for ‘fools’

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MSP Willie Rennie has lashed out at the Scottish Government stating that Holyrood is taking the flood victims and people of Cupar “for fools.”

It’s been three months since Storm Garrit caused the waters of Lady Burn to rise and sweep through homes and businesses in Cupar - and yet there has been no help from the government. Following a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, it continues to seem unlikely that financial aid will be provided any time soon.

North East Fife MSP Wille Rennie (Lib-Dem) has been fighting for funding on behalf of the people of Cupar since the storm flooded their homes just after Christmas.

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He raised the issue at Holyrood on Tuesday, asking the Scottish Government to back a comprehensive plan for the River Eden, and to confirm grants to people whose homes and businesses were flooded.

The aftermath and flood damage from Storm Gerrit in Cupar. (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)The aftermath and flood damage from Storm Gerrit in Cupar. (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)
The aftermath and flood damage from Storm Gerrit in Cupar. (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)

“Seven-year-old Amelia burst into tears at the bottom of the stairs in her house as the still unwrapped Christmas presents were swallowed up by the flood,” Mr Rennie began.

"Caroline watched her house flood knowing there was nothing she could do to protect it. She lost family pictures, personal effects, and her home. Soon to be married Nina had a buyer for her house and was ready to move to a new chapter in her life, but within minutes, the Lady Burn in Cupar burst its banks and flooded their homes with muddy, stinky water.”

He continued: “Their distress has now turned to fury - fury at all the talk but no practical action. If talk could hold back the water, we would never have a flood in Cupar ever again.”

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He asked Climate secretary Màiri McAllan (SNP) to confirm that the government will provide a small grants scheme to the flood victims in Cupar - the same as they provided to flood victims from Storm Babet in Angus last autumn.

“I’m very happy to work on the issue of the [River Eden] catchment plan,” she told MSPs.

“On the more immediate point about support to households in the community, I absolutely have sympathy for what was experienced. We have since reached out to Fife Council to have an idea of the impacted communities and I remain open to providing funding.”

She continued: “If Willie Rennie wants to meet with me about that, he’s very welcome and I will continue to speak with Fife Council about impacted communities.”

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Crucially, however, Mr Rennie said Ms McAllan failed to confirm grants for the people of Cupar, leaving them out of pocket for damages and repair.

“The government has been stalling for months and now the best the minister could offer was a meeting. Frankly that is an insult to desperate flood victims in Cupar who are out of pocket. They don’t want sympathy, they want a decision,” Mr Rennie said, speaking after the debate.

“I’ve been told for months that grants were being seriously considered, but it should not take so long to consider a small grants scheme.

"The government acted within weeks to provide support to people in Angus. They now seem to have been stringing people in Cupar along and taking them for fools.”