Thomas Bridge 24 November 2014

Emergency flood funding must be simplified, say councils

Emergency flood funding must be simplified, say councils image

Flood funding must be simplified if local authorities are to effectively protect their communities, council leaders have said.

Last year’s autumn and winter were the wettest for 250 years, with storms causing around £3bn of damage. The Met Office has once again forecast months of prolonged winter rainfall this year, with flood alerts already issued for parts of southern England.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has today pushed for significant reforms to funding systems that last year saw 14 different flood relief cash pots worth around £450m announced over a period of two months.

Chiefs instead said a single emergency fund administered through an online application process would help councils, businesses and residents access funding more easily and ensure cash quickly reaches in-need areas.

‘Emergency government funding has been vital in helping communities recover from the devastation caused by floods. However, we must avoid a repeat of last year when new funding pots were announced by the Government on a weekly basis creating confusion about how to apply and what it could be spent on,’ the LGA's environment spokesman, Cllr Peter Box, said.

Ministers last year committed almost £560m to support councils and flood-hit communities, including extending the Bellwin scheme to cover 100% of eligible costs.

Responding to the LGA’s call, a Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman confirmed the Government was ‘currently reviewing arrangements for flood recovery funding and will be making an announcement shortly’.

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV image

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV

The crisis in funding for CCTV systems is not being addressed by the government or the police and is leading to the curtailment of this vital service in local authorities across the country. How can we ensure that communities that want this service continue to receive it, asks Tom Reeve.
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