Monday, 4 January 2016

Funding confirmed to help flood-hit homes and businesses, but anger grows over government delays on affordable insurance scheme

Photo: Cat Smith

Photo: Nick Wilkinson

Lancashire County Council has received confirmation from government that funding will be available for residents and businesses hit by the recent floods, news welcomed by council leader Jenny Mein.

Work is already underway to ensure that the help already pledged for those affected by Storm Desmond before Christmas will be extended to those hit by Storm Eva.

Flooding problems continue to plague Lancashire residents and Tory Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has reacted angrily to Mail on Sunday findings that thousands of flood victims whose homes and businesses were ravaged in the storms are facing financial ruin because a Government-backed scheme giving them the legal right to affordable insurance has been delayed.

The paper's investigation has revealed that the scheme, called Flood Re, was first mooted in 2012 and should have been launched last July, but because of the Government and the insurance industry dragging their feet it was called off twice and now will not be in place until April.

Mr has said he is demanding a full explanation from the Prime Minister, as the needless hold-ups have heaped more misery on families whose lives have been devastated by the torrential downpours. They now face horrendous repair bills they cannot pay.

Businesses are not covered by Flood Re, as the Independent noted last week, so landlords, shops, and small businesses will not receive the same insurance subsidies as their residential neighbours.

Flood Funding Details

Every household affected will be eligible to receive £500, (despite misleading claims to the contrary from some quarters) with payments to be made by district councils, generally to the person registered for Council Tax. District councils will be working to identify affected households and make payments as quickly as possible following the floods.

Support will also be available for businesses severely affected either directly or indirectly by the flooding to help them recover and get trading again as soon as possible. This is due to be delivered by Boost Business Lancashire, which is led by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to create and safeguard jobs in the county. Details of this support are available here: www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/directory/flood-recovery-grant-scheme.aspx.

Further help in the shape of local tax relief may be available for residents and businesses whose properties have not been occupied due to the flooding, with details of the application process available from district councils.

Work is also underway to put help in place for households in particular need, for example because they are not insured. People may also be eligible to receive additional funding from a local discretionary fund being administered by the Community Foundation for Lancashire. Details are available here: www.lancsfloodappeal.org.uk.

Support will also be available for farmers from a scheme administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Details are available at: www.gov.uk/government/news/recovery-fund-for-flood-affected-farmers-opens.

County Councillor Jenny Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "The confirmation that government funding will be extended to those affected by the most recent floods is very welcome news.

"We'll be working closely with district councils and partner organisations over the coming days and weeks to distribute these funds, and try to make the process work as smoothly as possible.

"Work is also ongoing to put funding in place for people who may be in particular need and I would urge anyone who would like to find out more to look at the details available on the web and contact the Community Foundation early in the New Year.

"Support will also be available through Boost Business Lancashire to help businesses get back on their feet as soon as possible.

"I'm very grateful for the wonderful response from people across the county and beyond to help those affected by flooding, and we'll be continuing to do all we can in the coming weeks to help people and businesses get back to normal."

• You can find links to more information about flooding at www.lancashire.gov.uk. Follow #LancsAlert on Twitter and Facebook for the latest flooding updates and information

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