Support for Northumberland flood victims announced

The swollen River Coquet at Rothbury. Picture by Mary Scott
The swollen River Coquet at Rothbury. Picture by Mary Scott
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Details of the support available for residents and businesses in Northumberland that have been affected by flooding have been announced by Northumberland County Council.

Residents and businesses directly affected by flooding are entitled to a range of financial help and support.

For council-tax relief, residents should contact the council on 0345 600 6400 where they will get help to apply. Each home directly affected is also entitled to a £500 grant to help them with recovery costs such as temporary accommodation.

If people pay their council tax by direct debit they shouldn’t need to do anything to receive this payment, because the council will pay it straight into their bank account. Others identified as being affected, but who don’t pay by direct debit, will have a cheque issued to them.

If residents affected haven’t received their payment by January 11, 2016, they should contact the council on 0345 600 6400.

For businesses severely affected by flooding, a package of support is available, the amount depending on the size of the business and the level of support required.

Flood-recovery grants are available to small and medium-sized businesses with up to 250 full-time equivalent employees. They can be used for a wide range of activities to support survival and recovery such as marketing, interest payments on new and existing loans, specialist advice, training, equipment and other activities supporting implementation of a recovery action plan.

Applications for the business flood-recovery grant scheme will be administered by Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, on behalf of the county council. The service is free of charge and specialist advisers will be on hand to offer advice and support when businesses get in touch.

Application forms are available on the council’s website and businesses can call Arch on 01670 528490 or email Julie.Dodds@arch-group.co.uk for support.

Support for farming businesses is being arranged separately through Defra, and there is a link on the council’s website.

Coun Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “I am extremely pleased that we can now confirm the support available for residents and businesses affected by this terrible flooding.

“The money will be important in helping householders cope with the challenges of sorting out their homes and temporary accommodation. Getting businesses that need assistance the right support is also extremely important. Our focus, through Arch, is on helping enterprises get back on their feet as soon as possible and ensuring that despite the extreme flooding Northumberland remains open for business.”

The Government has also announced that households and businesses in Northumberland that were flooded in December 2015 can apply for a repair and renew grant of up to £5,000.

These grants are intended to fund measures which improve the property’s resilience or resistance to flooding, beyond repairs that would normally be covered by insurance, and will be administered by Northumberland County Council.

Guidance and application forms will be available on Northumberland County Council’s website from next week. If you wish to register your interest call the council on 0345 600 6400.

The council’s website also contains useful information about a Sport England emergency flood relief fund for clubs and community-based sports organisations that have been damaged as a result of the floods and storms.

Full information about flood support is available on the council’s website.

The council is warning residents and businesses in Northumberland to be on their guard so that they don’t become the victim of scams. The council has been made aware of a scam where people are receiving texts offering a council tax refund, which if followed takes them to a website which asks for personal and financial information.

Northumberland County Council will not text of cold call residents about council tax refunds. If you are in any doubt ask for a caller’s name and number then call the council on 0345 600 6400.