Julie has spent the morning in Cockermouth where she has visited the devastating flood site. She was joined by Jeremy Corbyn MP, Workington MP Sue Hayman, Cllr Alan Smith, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council and former Mayor of Cockermouth, and Cllr Barbara Cannon, Executive Member of Allerdale Borough Council. Julie visited local homes and businesses and talked with those who had been affected.
Julie said 'My office is in Cumbria and my staff there have kept me up to date with the crisis throughout, from early storm warnings on Friday, to hourly updates on which particular communities have been affected and in what ways. I am very aware of how the community is pulling together, providing mutual support and help with temporary accommodation. The emergency services, who have been under threat from cuts, have also been wonderful, showing no hesitation in doing everything to rescue people trapped and to secure dangerous structures. Loss of electricity is a major challenge with hospitals, old people's homes and businesses unable to function properly. The crisis is not over yet and we must carefully monitor conditions as the flood waters make their way downhill, and we must be ready to give support wherever it is needed, not just in the immediate moment but in the weeks, months and years to come as communities seek to rebuild their lives and local businesses try and recover. It will not be easy, especially for those who were affected in 2005 and 2009, which is why the UK government must use all the resources at its disposal including the EU Solidarity Fund.
We must also look for long term solutions. This is the 3rd major flood to hit Cumbria in 20 years. We must therefore look at wider issues of climate change and work together with our European neighbours and international partners to tackle global warming, caused in the main by burning fossil fuels. A renewed commitment to clean, green, renewable energy is required and in this respect Storm Desmond provides a link with the Climate Change Conference.'
Julie also joined Jeremy in singing 'Happy Birthday' to one local lady who turned 65 today http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/jeremy-corbyn-sang-happy-birthday-to-cheer-up-a-woman-whose#.pugZMe5nG