14 November 2008
By David Meilton
The government is giving local authorities seriously affected by last summer's floods £1.2m to help flood-hit residents pay their council tax bills.
Local government minister John Healey said that 25 councils would share the funding to provide discounts for residents unable to remain in their homes because of the flooding.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said latest estimates showed that the number of families still out of their homes is around 1,100. Initially 48,000 homes were affected by the floods.
Healey said: '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 that have undertaken to ensure families don't pay council tax for homes they cannot live in.'
Homes that were unoccupied and in need of major repair were exempt from council tax after the floods, but these exemptions are allowed only for a year. Healey promised that the government would cover the cost of discretionary discounts of up to 100% so that other council tax payers were not unfairly penalised.
Hull City Council is the biggest beneficiary, receiving £445,000. Tewkesbury, West Berkshire, East Riding and Wychavon councils will also benefit.