Government to send millions more in aid to British Overseas Territories hit by hurricanes

The money comes after the Government was criticised for its slow response to the disaster in September.

Number 10 is due to announce a new £70m recovery package for the the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean which were badly hit by hurricanes in September - writes

The money will be on top of UK guarantees of£300m worth of loans to the 11 permanently inhabited overseas territories as they try to rebuild after Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused widespreaddestruction.

Five people were killed and around £1.5bn worth of damage was done to Anguilla , the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos during Hurricane Irma .

The Government’s initial response to the disaster was branded “pathetic” by former members of regional government who said they had felt abandoned by London.

Dorothea Hodge, the former UK EU representative for Anguilla, said it was “absolutely disgraceful” that the then Development Secretary Priti Patel took a “whole day” to respond to “the worst hurricane we have seen in a British territory since the 1920s”.

Ms Patel later deployed three UK humanitarian experts and a British navy vessel with 40 Royal Marines and army engineers to the region and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson later visited the stricken islands.

But Ms Hodge said they could still do more.

She toldTheGuardian: “Anguillans are all British nationals, as British as the Falklands or Gibraltar.

“In comparison to the French president who has set up an emergency fund, an emergency hotline and a reconstruction fund her response after the storm has passed is absolutely pathetic.”

But at the meeting in Downing Street on Tuesday, Ms May is expected to invite theterritory leaders to speak about their experiences dealing with the impact of the hurricanes.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, she said: “I am pleased to welcome leaders of the Overseas Territories to Downing Street today, as they begin regular consultations with their counterparts in the UK Government. I see this as a mark of the strong and enduring partnership that exists between us.

“This set of meetings is not only a chance to work together on our shared priorities, but also to hear directly from those territories who suffered from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“This new £70 million package of support demonstrates the UK’s ongoing commitment to help its Overseas Territories as they get on with the difficult work of recovery.”

During the meeting Ms May will also brief the leaders on the progress of the Brexit negotiations.

All of the overseas territories, except Gibraltar, are not part of the EU and therefore were not allowed to vote in the referendum but are likely to be greatly affected as they tend to specialise in providing financial services .

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