Souh Dorset MP Richard Drax has welcomed a Government decision to allow fishermen access to hardship funds in the wake of the recent floods.

The Business Support Scheme provides quick hardship grants to offset exceptional costs incurred by businesses affected directly or indirectly by floods.

The Echo reported earlier his week that local fishermen were facing hardship as they had not been able to put to sea for months and many had fishing equipment damaged.

Until the new plans were announced this week by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, fishing was not one of the businesses included.

The Government is providing funding of up to £10 million for the Business Support Scheme, which is available to areas affected by floods, including coastal and tidal flooding.

Mr Drax said: “I am delighted to hear that our fishermen will be able to apply for this support.

“The extreme weather we have endured in South Dorset has badly affected many fishing businesses. Going out in some of the conditions we have seen recently would have been very dangerous. And I am told that many boats, equipment and premises have been damaged. Our fishermens’ livelihoods have been badly affected, so it seems only right that they should be able to share in the government support scheme.’ ‘I understand that the funding is available for damaged equipment, flooded premises and loss of business due to the floods. It is a welcome and timely development and I urge all those affected to apply.”