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COMMENT: We’ve had all the platitudes, now just show us the money
9:00am Wednesday 12th February 2014 in News
THE Government is clearly on a PR offensive over the flooding, dispensing ministers off across the affected areas to look at what is happening on the ground.
Oxford’s guest yesterday was the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who came to Botley Road, looked grave and pronounced himself satisfied with the efforts of our firefighters to keep this vital arterial route open.
And he is right: the firefighters and their colleagues from other organisations have done a fantastic job to at least keep Botley Road open.
But we wonder why Mr Pickles did not go to Abingdon Road, shut since the early hours of Sunday after flooding for the second time this year?
Of course, it is important that ministers see what is going on at the sharp end of the flooding.
Now we want to know what they are going to do about it We asked Mr Pickles, as we did Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander before him, for a guarantee that the Government will find the money for a permanent solution to stop the city being closed down on a regular basis.
Like his colleagues, when it came to the crunch, he couldn’t make that pledge, although we note that his boss, Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron, said yesterday that money would be ‘no object’ for flood relief projects.
There is no doubt that other areas have suffered more than Oxford and will also be demanding hugely expensive projects.
But we must stake our claim loud and clear, or we are likely to miss out.
Ministerial visits are welcome, but platitudes in front of the cameras must be backed up with action.
Otherwise the politicians may as well stay in Westminster.
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