Flood-hit families offered council tax discounts

Muddy boots

Over 1,500 flood-hit families are to be given help with their council tax bills, the government has confirmed.

Floods recovery minister John Healey it is making £1.2 million available to 25 councils to help households who have been affected by flooding last summer.

Around 1,100 families are still unable to live in their homes as a result of flooding in 2007, although this number has more than halved since the end of June. Initially 48,000 homes were affected by the flood water.

Following the flooding, the government introduced council tax exemptions for homes that were unoccupied and in need of major repair, but these were only allowed for a year. However, the government has now persuaded councils to offer discretionary discounts of up to 100%.

Healey says: "For most people last summer's floods are a distant memory. But I know many families and communities still feel the effects on a daily basis. That's why I have taken special steps, in recognition of these special circumstances, to help councils who have undertaken to ensure families don't pay council tax for homes they cannot live in.”

Alan Gairns, head of property for insurance firm RSA, says: "It is pleasing to see that government has made funding available to help families with their council tax bills, and that government's support to areas affected by last summer's floods is now some £134 million.

"However, this must be set in context against the £3 billion cost to the insurance industry."

Who’s doing what?

* Hull City Council will receive over £445,000 to help over 500 families

* Tewkesbury Borough Council will receive £233,000 to help around 130 families

* West Berkshire Council will receive over £110,000 to help over 80 families

* East Riding Council will receive almost £120,000 to help over 300 families

* Wychavon District Council will receive almost £50,000 to help almost 120 families