Labour MP Bill Esterson calls on Owen Paterson to reassure residents in flood-hit Maghull, Formby and Thornton after it emerges the Tories and Lib Dems have cut funding for brook clearance

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Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson asked the Tory-Lib Dem Secretary of State responsible for flooding how people in Formby, Thornton and Maghull can have confidence that their homes won't be flooded after it emerged that funding to clear brooks had been cut.

Homes in Maghull, Formby and Thornton were left submerged last year because residents say brooks near their properties had not been cleared.

The Government has since confirmed that it had cut funding to brook clearance.

Quizzing the Secretary of State responsible in parliament on Monday, Bill Esterson asked Owen Paterson: "A number of homes in my constituency have flooded since the brooks stopped being cleared. What confidence can my constituents have that their homes will not flood again given the cuts in funding to flood protection which have taken place under this government?"

Bill said residents need more reassurances that everything is being done to ensure that their homes will not be flooded again.

Bill said: "The confirmation from the Minister that funding has indeed been cut to brook clearance will be of great concern to those people in Four Acres in Maghull, and those people in Formby and Thornton whose homes have been ruined by flood water.

"My constituents want reassurances that this government is doing everything it can to ensure that there will not be a repeat of the flooding we have seen in the last year. But the Tories and Lib Dems in this government refuse to give my constituents the reassurances that they deserve.

"I have spoken to residents who were forced out of their home because of the flood water, a number of whom have only returned in the last couple of months.

"There needs to be assurances that the Secretary of State and the government have got this problem in hand, unlike how they are dealing with the flooding problems in the south."

Bill said areas of Sefton can be prone to flooding if rigid flood management is not in place.

Bill said: "Here in Sefton we share a border with the Irish Sea to our west and throughout we have the River Alt being fed by brooks that run the length and breadth of the borough. That is why it is absolutely vital that we have a sound flood management system in place.

"That includes regular brook clearance. If that doesn't happen we are prone to the flooding that we have seen in the recent past.

"I will now be contacting DEFRA and the Secretary of State to find out what measures they are taking to ensure that Sefton is safe from flooding now that the Tories and Lib Dems have cut funding for the vital brook clearance programme.

"We cannot allow the residents who went through the absolute misery of seeing their homes and valuable ruined have to go through all of that again."