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Prime Minister promises money to fight the floods + Audio
DAVID Cameron has promised Oxford more cash will be spent to build up the city’s flood defences.
The Prime Minister, speaking at a waterlogged mobile home park in his Witney constituency, said he would make sure lessons were learnt in the city and county after the flood waters subside.
Mr Cameron visited the Thameside Court site in Bablockhythe by the swollen River Thames to speak to flood-hit residents and those working on the relief effort.
The PM’s visit came as Oxford spent a third day shut down by floods, with Abingdon and Botley Roads remaining closed and many train services to the city suspended.
There is no word on when the two roads might reopen, but there were hopes last night that Botley Road could reopen this weekend as flooding died down in much of the county.
When asked if the city’s flood defence system was inadequate, Mr Cameron said: “A lot of work has been done but there is always more work that needs to be done.”
He said his Government had committed to spending £2.3bn over four years – up from £2.1bn in the period before that.
He said: “There has been good flood defence work put in place in Oxford. Here, in my constituency, we have had flood alleviation measures put in place in the Wychwoods, in Witney, in Standlake, and these have made a difference.
“Homes have been protected because of the investment that has been made.
“But there is always more that needs to be done and as this water subsides we can look again and see if there is more action we can take.”
The Conservative also praised the flood relief workers and said: “We should pay tribute to neighbours and friends who have done a lot for each other.”
When asked what assurances he could make to people in Oxford hit again by flooding, he said: “The promise I can make is we will go on investing in flood defences.
“Money will keep being spent and we will always look after any flood about whether there is new information, new patterns we can respond to and we will continue to improve our country’s resilience.”
Mr Cameron also denied his Government was cutting investment into flood prevention despite the agency saying that around 1,500 jobs could go this year.
He said: “The Environment Agency is properly resourced, properly staffed, the frontline is being protected and the money is going into flood defences.”
On Thursday about 20 Bablockhythe residents were helped to leave their homes by firefighters and council staff.
Thameside Court resident Bernadette Neil spoke to the PM about how the flooding had affected her and husband Andrew.
She told Mr Cameron how pleased she had been with the flood relief help. She said: “I said they had done everything they could. They cannot fight nature. No-one can.”
But the 63-year-old said more could have been done to clear the ditches at Bablockhythe but said she realised money was not available.
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