Norfolk and Suffolk: Councils could get back more cash after flood compensation scheme extended

Prime Minister David Cameron Prime Minister David Cameron

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
1:35 PM

Norfolk and Suffolk councils are set to receive more cash to help them cover the costs of the December floods.

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Norfolk and Suffolk councils are set to receive more cash to help them cover the costs of the December floods.

Authorities including North Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney, whose leaders met flooding minister Brandon Lewis last week, will be able to claim back an extra 15pc under the Bellwin Scheme, which could amount to thousands of extra pounds.

Norfolk County Council and Suffolk County Council, which missed out under the old rules, may also be able to claim after the government said the fire service would be treated as a standalone authority.

Dan Roper, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for public protection, said he “warmly welcomed” the new approach. The council is still estimating the costs to the fire service, but under the new rules the trigger to qualify for the Bellwin Scheme will be just under £60,000.

He said: “We received significant assistance from fire services across the country during the emergency and there is clearly a cost to that help. That cost is currently being met by our fire and rescue service but if today’s announcement means that we are in line for government assistance, then I would welcome that.”

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, also welcomed the announcement, but said they were not yet clear how it would impact their fire costs.

North Norfolk District Council has estimated that it will now be able to claim back £43,782 from the Bellwin Scheme as opposed to £37,215 under the previous rules. That is out of a £2.7m total bill. Its leader, Tom Fitzpatrick, said it was a “positive step” and “shows we are being listened to”, but said he would continue to neogiate with the government and make the case.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said its bill was estimated to be around £200,000. It expects to be able to claim back an extra £24,000 as a result of yesterday’s change.

Trevor Wainwright, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “This is most welcome at a time when the borough council, a relatively small council, is facing particularly tight budgets for the foreseeable future.”

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