- 4 updates
Almost 1,000 businesses have received payouts from their local councils as part of the Government's package to help them recover from the winter flooding.
In a written parliamentary answer, local government minister Brandon Lewis confirmed 979 companies benefited from the Business Rates Relief Fund as of the beginning of June.
There are no set or advance allocations to councils, which instead have to retrospectively claim back the cost of the relief.
Mr Lewis said 66 local authorities had submitted claims for reimbursement ahead of the deadline last month and added the Government expected to pay back £4 million shortly.
The environment minister Dan Rogerson said Government spending on flood defences has protected "1.4 million properties" from flooding.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Rogerson justified the spending levels after an extra £270m was used in Somerset due to the "wettest winter on record."
MPs have welcomed £270 million extra funding for tackling flooding that has been announced by the Government this year, but said £130 million of that had been reallocated from elsewhere in the Environment Department's budget, rather than being additional.
Overall funding did not reflect the increased flood risk the country faced. Funding for maintenance work - a "Cinderella" area - needs to keep pace with the growing risk caused by more frequent extreme weather events and to look after an increasing number of flood defences being built, the MPs said.
They urged the Environment Department (Defra) to draw up fully-funded plans to address the current backlog of maintenance work, including routine dredging, as well as to maintain the growing numbers of man-made flood defences.
MPs have warned that maintaining flood protection for communities should take priority over cost-cutting, to prevent a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.
The Parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee said in a report on the floods that funding for clearing rivers, routine dredging and maintaining existing flood defences is at a "bare minimum".
While the committee commended the relief effort for the floods, which saw 7,000 properties flooded as the UK was hit by repeated storms and the wettest winter on record, they said investment in flood prevention was preferable to spending on clean-up.