Thursday, 13 February 2014

Government confirms revisions to 'Bellwin' scheme for Cornwall

We've now had through the details of the revised Bellwin scheme as it affects Cornwall. This is the system whereby the government repays councils for money spent on emergency flood relief. It does not provide money for longer term repairs and rebuilding.

So far, Cornwall has spent almost £4 million on emergency flood relief. And we estimate that the cost of proper repairs to our assets will be at least £17 million.

Under the old regime, Cornwall was penalised for being a big council. We could claim 85% of the cost above a threshold based on our total budget. In Cornwall's case this was £1.4 million whereas for most district councils it was in the tens of thousands of pounds.

Now the government has changed the scheme to give 100% repayment on a much lower threshold - so Cornwall Council only has to pay the first £877,081. That's a great boost. So too is the extended deadline for submitting claims.

Tonight I met with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to discuss the costs of putting right flood damage in Cornwall. The council cannot afford the £17 million or more (and it will be more as we have not yet been able to properly assess everything damaged) that it will cost. We need some help from the government. I made this point to Nick and I hope that the government will be able to help with long term repairs as they have with short term relief work.

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