Headlines: August 21st, 2007


Britain is applying for financial help from Europe to help meet the costs of recovery from this summer’s floods. The Government has submitted an application to the European Commission for support from the European Union Solidarity Fund. A provisional assessment of the damage, based on work with local authorities and other agencies, puts it at four billion Euros. The threshold for an application to the fund is three billion.

Flood Recovery Minister John Healey said the Government would continue to work with councils and Government offices to arrive at a final and confirmed cost but this would not be known for some time. The application is being made now to meet a deadline from the Commission but the system allows for information to be updated. If the application is successful resources are likely to be available in nine to twelve months time.

John Healey said the insurance industry estimated it would receive about 45,000 insurance claims from households and 14,500 from businesses with further damage to schools, roads and leisure facilities. “A huge amount of work across Government has taken place to support the local recovery operation and help communities get back on their feet,” he said and added, “More Government help for local authorities will follow through the special Bellwin scheme.”

He explained, “It will be for the Commission to decide whether our application is successful and this process may take up to a year. If successful we would only receive a proportion of the total costs. That’s why it’s important we continue to work with insurers, local government, industry and other agencies to ensure life gets back to normal as quickly as possible.”