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Coastal: Flood-hit communities can claim council tax and rate reductions

10:32 27 January 2014

Roads in Snape badly flooded after the tidal surge.

Roads in Snape badly flooded after the tidal surge.

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Businesses and residents affected by flooding in the Suffolk Coastal area following the North Sea surge tide are being offered a cut in their council tax and rates.

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The district council says the offer is open to those who were “severely affected” to help them get back on their feet.

Dealing with last month’s flooding, which left a trail of damage in Suffolk’s communities, has cost the county’s coastal councils more than £250,000.

At present Suffolk Coastal and Waveney are having to dip into their emergency funds with great
uncertainty over whether national government will help with the bill for the operation.

Both councils have been left around £130,000 out of pocket.

Suffolk Coastal said it was able to help people in exceptional circumstances and could consider reducing council tax and business rates where through no fault of their own, people had “experienced a crisis or event which has made their property uninhabitable” and remain liable for rates or tax or have no other opportunity for compensation.

The council said: “The cost of any award will be met by the council tax payer and so has to be made by looking at each case on its merits to decide whether help can be given.

“Where family and individual circumstances are exceptional it may be appropriate to reduce the council tax or business rates payable to the council.

“Council officers considering any requests will need an application completed to establish who we can help and the relative circumstances of each case.”

Businesses and homeowners along many parts of the coast suffered flooding, with Snape, Waldringfield, Felixstowe Ferry and Martlesham among those areas worst hit.

The A12 at Blythburgh was closed until the waters receded, and nature reserves and farmland have suffered severe damage, some habitat feared irretrievably harmed.

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney have both registered for the Bellwin Scheme (of emergency financial assistance to local authorities) and are waiting to see if any reimbursement for costs incurred will be funded by Whitehall.

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