Care to read an article from the UK dated 13 Dec 2007?
Corporate Newsroom Latest news Multi million pound council flood compensation begins
Multi million pound council flood compensation begins
Published 13 December 2007
Floods Recovery Minister John Healey today announced that Gloucestershire County Council will receive an interim payment of £1.1m from Government to help with its costs in clearing up after this summer's floods. They may receive a further payment once the council has submitted a final claim.
This payment is being made under the Bellwin scheme which covers costs incurred by a local authority on immediate action to safeguard life and property or prevent suffering as a result of a disaster or emergency.
Gloucestershire County Council is the first council to make a Bellwin claim in relation to this summer's floods. In total 82 local authorities registered an interest in making a Bellwin claim so Government stands ready to make further payments in the next few weeks once claims have been received.
Today's payment takes Government support for Gloucestershire to £14.7m and for all flood-hit areas to over £64million - with more to follow.
John Healey MP said:
"This summer saw the worst flooding in Britain for over a century. It hit large parts of the country causing widespread damage. As Floods Recovery Minister I have made many visits to flood-damaged areas and have been impressed by the commitment of councils and other agencies in helping their communities get back on their feet.
"But clearly this comes at a cost. That is why, given the extraordinary nature of these floods, we made it easier for councils to claim back additional costs from Government. We significantly extended the period for which they can claim and increased the proportion of costs they can receive to 100 per cent of spending above the threshold. To ensure money reached councils as quickly as possible we also said we are ready to make interim payments.
"I'm pleased to announce that Gloucestershire County Council's interim claim has been accepted and that £1.1m will be in their accounts shortly. I have seen first hand the excellent work of the council in leading its communities through this difficult time and will visit the county again next week. I also plan to make a Bellwin payment to Gloucester City Council in the next few days.
"While councils like Gloucestershire can be proud of the progress they have made so far there is a long way to go. That is why more Government support will be available - including further Bellwin payments - as well as help from the European Commission. The flood waters are long gone but the clear up and repair problems for many households, businesses communities have not. Government is therefore also committed to the long haul and to continuing our support for local authorities and agencies leading the recovery efforts.
"Where there is a significant emergency the Bellwin Scheme kicks in, as it has done now, and when there is an exceptional emergency we will go further, as we have done following this summer's floods. But councils have a long-established duty to prepare cover for unforeseen events with insurance and reserves and they must expect to use these too."
Notes for editors
1. Bellwin predominantly covers uninsurable costs as defined by the long established insurance policy offered to local authorities by the Zurich insurance company. The scheme does not usually cover capital expenditure; or the normal wages and salaries of the authority's regular employees; whether diverted from their normal work or otherwise, and the standing costs of the authority's plant and equipment.
2. The statutory requirement for the Bellwin scheme is that claims must relate to costs incurred by an authority on, or in connection with, immediate action to safeguard life and property or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience as a result of a disaster or emergency.
3. The costs typically covered include: costs of evacuating people from dangerous structures and works to make them safe following a natural disaster; temporary re-housing, initial repairs to and the clearing of debris from highways, pavements and footpaths.
4. The usual period to take action eligible for grant is two months but for the June and July floods that timescale has been trebled to six months. Local authorities will also be able to claim 100 per cent of eligible costs - instead of the normal 85 per cent - once they have spent over the threshold of 0.2 per cent of their revenue budget. The extension of time and the increase in the percentage means that authorities can claim more of their expenditure.
5. While local authorities normally have a month to notify the department of their intention to claim under Bellwin, on this occasion the department has been proactive in contacting them to ensure that they are in no doubt that they can claim, know how to apply and are aware of what they can claim for.
6. Although authorities affected by the June floods have until 14 January to apply, (1 February for July floods), we have made clear we are happy to make interim payments ahead of that against costs authorities have already incurred.
7. To date Gloucestershire County Council and the county's six district councils have received a total of £14,730,900 in Government support. This breaks down as:
£2,623,000 in Flood Recovery Grant from Communities and Local Government
£1,007,900 from the Departments of Children, Schools and Families
£10,000,000 from the Department for Transport
£1,100,000 Bellwin funding from Communities and Local Government.
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