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Floods: Finance

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department has provided to (a) Gloucestershire County Council, (b) Tewkesbury Borough Council and (c) Cheltenham Borough Council for (i) flood recovery and (ii) improved flood resilience in the last 12 months; what restrictions she has placed on the ways in which such funds can be spent; what plans she has for further similar expenditure over the next 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (183648)

To date the Government have made available up to £73 million to support communities in England affected by the floods last summer.

Gloucestershire county council has been allocated £12,107,900 of this funding:

£1,100,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government through the Bellwin scheme, a scheme providing financial assistance for local authorities dealing with emergencies, with more to come.

In addition:

£1,007,900 from the Department for Children, Schools and Families for schools and children’s services affected by the floods; and

£10,000,000 allocated by the Department for Transport for repairs to local highways, with further funding expected.

Tewkesbury borough council has received £673,500 in Flood Recovery Grant from Communities and Local Government and Cheltenham borough council £646,500 respectively. Both councils have submitted Bellwin claims and we are currently looking at the detail with a view to making payments within the next few weeks.

Local authorities have flexibility to decide how to best use Flood Recovery Grant based on their own local circumstances. In practice this has included:

Support payments to flood affected households;

Purchase and provision of new household items to flood affected households;

Provision of temporary caravans to allow people to remain within their communities while houses are repaired;

Resilience and rescheduling of home improvement programmes to support families in flood damaged homes;

Other priorities set through consultation with flood-affected householders and communities.

There are no current plans to make any more payments under the Flood Recovery Scheme to the authorities affected by the June and July 2007 floods.

DEFRA is progressing with its £500,000 pilot grant scheme to encourage flood resilience and will be reporting to Ministers by the summer. The pilots, together with a parallel research project, are providing useful information that will help Ministers take a long term decision on whether such measures should feature in the long-term approach to flood risk reduction.