1,000 businesses received payouts over flooding

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.

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1,000 businesses received payouts over flooding

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.

1,000 businesses received payouts over flooding. Credit: PA

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.

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MPs: 'Ministers must take action now' over flooding

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.

We have repeatedly called on the Government to increase revenue funding so that necessary dredging and watercourse maintenance can be carried out to minimise flood risk, yet funding for maintenance remains at a bare minimum.

Ministers must take action now to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.

The Government needs to recognise the importance of regular maintenance work and put it on an equal footing with building new defences.

– Committee's chairwoman Anne McIntosh

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 warn flood protection should take priority

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.

MPs warn flood protection should take priority. Credit: PA

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.

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