Shropshire flooding: £500 and council tax relief for flood-hit homes
Flood-hit homes in Shropshire will be offered up to £500 and exemption from paying council tax, the Government has announced.
Devastated residents across the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin areas have been left counting the cost of Storm Dennis after widespread flooding wreaked havoc across the county this week.
Much of Ludlow was under water on Sunday and water started to pour into Shrewsbury town centre on Monday when the River Severn burst its banks.
Bridgnorth has also been heavily flooded while Ironbridge has been on high alert since a severe flood warning was issued yesterday and homes were evacuated on the Wharfage.
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The Communities Secretary has now pledged thousands of pounds of support for people affected by the flooding.
Some homeowners and businesses will be able to seek three months of relief from council tax and business rates as they start to salvage their properties, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said.
He added: “Storms Dennis and Ciara have severely impacted a large number of households and businesses and I recognise how de-stabilising this can be.
“This extra support, including new funding, will help people in the worst-hit areas to recover and get back on their feet as soon as possible.
“I’d like to thank the emergency services and key agencies on the ground for their dedication and tireless work to help everyone affected in extremely challenging circumstances.”
On top of the £500 hardship relief for individual households, the Government is also fronting up £2,500 to each business hit by flooding.
And grants worth up to £5,000 will be made available to both businesses and households impacted by the floods to allow them to pay for changes that could help make their properties more resilient in the future.
The measures apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more flooded households as a result of Storms Ciara and Dennis.
It comes after the Government activated the emergency Bellwin scheme, which applies to Shropshire Council as well at Telford & Wrekin Council.
Under the scheme, local authorities dealing with the flooding can apply to have 100 per cent of their eligible costs reimbursed by the Government after putting on rest centres and temporary accommodation, or to pay staff for overtime.
This could be for items including rest centres, temporary accommodation and staff overtime.
The £500 community recovery grant to individual households will be paid to local councils by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), while the £2,500 business recovery grant will come from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and paid to businesses who cannot recover flood damage costs from insurance.
But Labour criticised the Government for being slow to help communities that have found themselves submerged.
Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said: "After days of inaction, ministers are now finally lurching slowly into action.
"With the Prime Minister nowhere to be seen and calls to convene Cobra to help communities flooded again ignored, this smacks of being a desperate PR exercise."
The communities secretary also announced the Government would convene the cross-Whitehall Flood Recovery Taskforce to provide flood-stricken areas with support and guidance.
The Government has already pledged to invest £2.6 billion in flood defences by 2021.