Ealing faces full cost of clear-up bill

9 Aug 01
Ealing council fears it will not qualify for financial help from the government following the bomb blast that tore through the heart of the borough.

10 August 2001

Much of the town centre was devastated by the 88lb car bomb that went off shortly after midnight on August 3, apparently planted by the Real IRA.

But the west London authority has told Public Finance that an initial assessment of the costs of the clean-up operation suggested that it would not meet the minimum threshold for the Bellwin formula, which is designed to offer councils financial help in the event of emergencies and natural disasters.

If an authority's clean-up costs are more than 0.2% of its annual budget, it can claim back up to 85% of the excess from central government. Ealing's budget for this year is £305m, so it will have to spend £6.1m before receiving any rebates.

Council spokeswoman Catherine Harper said officers were not optimistic about getting government help. 'A lot of contractors have been used and we'll have to wait for their costs to come in. It will take three to four weeks to get a clear idea of how much it will cost,' she said. 'But it doesn't look like we're going to meet the Bellwin threshold.'

The bomb exploded in the centre of Ealing's shopping area and much of the repairs bill will be picked up by businesses and their insurers. One of the council's major expenses will be repairing Uxbridge Road, site of the blast, which has been scarred by a crater 10 feet long, 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep.


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