Julie's speech during the debate on 'Cohesion policy in mountainous regions of the EU - New territorial development tools in cohesion policy 2014-2020 - Acceleration of implementation of cohesion policy' in the European Parliament, 9th May 2016.
Mr President, the UK recently experienced a very concrete example of the importance of EU assistance through regional funds because during December 2015 the UK was hit by the extra-tropical cyclone storm Desmond, followed by storms Eva and Frank, causing severe flooding in the north of England and Scotland well into January. Extensive damage was caused to homes, communities and businesses.
Following intense pressure from the Labour Party, the UK Government finally applied for EU solidarity funds in February 2016, on the eve of the deadline, and we are now waiting for the first payments to be made in order to support affected communities.
I represent a beautiful, isolated, rural and mountainous area in the northwest of England. So I know first-hand the positive impact that the EU cohesion policy can have on sustainable economic, social and cultural development of the regions and I am very proud to say that the EU flag is proudly fluttering outside my office in Workington Town Hall today. I do not need to repeat what my colleagues have already said, demonstrating the positive impact, but I would like to say that proper support for social and cultural cohesion policies should be more prevalent.