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Floods: Council Tax

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect on council tax bills of the recent flooding in the worst flood-hit areas. (153797)

Decisions on the level of council tax are a matter for individual authorities. To date the Government has made available a significant package of over 46 million to support areas affected by the flooding of June and July 2007. This includes:

£17,390,000 in Flood Recovery Grant released to local authorities affected by the floods to support their work in helping those in greatest and most immediate need.

£13,288,000 released to schools and children’s services affected by the floods

An initial £3 million for local authorities to repair damage to the local highway

Over £11 million from Regional Development Agencies for businesses affected in their regions

£1 million for use by Jobcentre Plus to support additional demand for Social Fund Community Care Grants

£1 million to support rural tourism in England through promoting rural destinations and visitor attractions and a targeted marketing campaign.

This is additional money to that available under the Bellwin scheme which provides emergency financial assistance from Government to local authorities, to help meet the uninsurable costs of immediate action to safeguard life or property or prevent severe inconvenience to inhabitants in the case of an emergency or disaster. In recognition of the exceptional nature of the recent flooding we have made it easier for local authorities to claim back additional costs from Government through the Bellwin scheme by significantly extending the period for which authorities can claim and increasing the proportion of costs they can receive in support grants to 100 per cent. above threshold.