Flooded or affected by the floods? Here's the help that is available now:

Flooded or affected by the floods? Here's the help that is available now:

So finally the weather has calmed down. We hope.

The tweet below from Carol Kirkwood, weather presenter at the BBC, pretty much sums it up.

I personally have almost forgotten what it was like to be under a non-bruised, cloudless sky.

Anyhow, it is now time, sadly, for many businesses and individuals to start cleaning up and dealing with the inevitable paperwork.

In the first instance, if you can't fulfil a contract or a business isn't doing what it promised to do, then have a look at our post from late last week: The storms and floods mean that I can’t fulfil my contract. What can I do?

Otherwise, if you have been affected by the floods and need help, there is plenty available:

  • Business Support Scheme: the government launched a new business support scheme for flood affected businesses. The £10 million scheme (which will be administered and delivered by local authorities) will provide hardship funding for SME businesses in areas affected by the floods. Businesses that have been flooded and those that are in affected areas and have suffered significant loss of trade will be able to apply. Eligible costs include things like immediate clean-up costs, materials, and exceptional costs to help these businesses continue trading. Bear in mind that it is likely that the relevant local authority will want to see any evidence of any insurance that can help in the first instance. The government also states that 'local authorities will have discretion on the maximum payments to individual businesses'. In previous equivalent schemes average claims were £2,500 per business
  • Business Support Helpline: the government has also set up a telephone support helpline. It offers a free 1 hour call with a 'dedicated Business Support Advisor to help businesses get back on their feet'. The number is 0300 456 3565
  • Business rate relief: the government has also offered 3 month business rate relief at 100% for any affected businesses and such businesses 'will also get an extra 3 months to pay the business taxes they owe to HMRC as they get back on their feet'
  • £5,000 repair and renew grants: this grant 'will top up any money received from insurers to ensure flood resilience is built into homes and businesses as they are repaired'. Details of the grant are due to be published this week
  • Companies House: Companies House says that it is happy to agree extensions for any filing deadlines for companies that have been unable to file accounts or other documents because of the floods. In such circumstances, Companies House also says that it will not collect any penalties that may apply
  • HMRC: HMRC launched a telephone support helpline for anybody affected by the floods. HMRC says that it will offer 'practical help and advice' and will also 'agree instalment arrangements where taxpayers are unable to pay as a result of the floods; agree a practical approach when individuals and businesses have lost vital records to the floods; suspend debt collection proceedings for those affected by the floods; and cancel penalties when the taxpayer has missed statutory deadlines'
  • Insurers: The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has set out on its website its Flood Insurance Customer Commitments. The ten commitments set out what customers should expect from insurers now and in the months ahead. The ABI also has specific a page on its website dealing with flooding. It is worth noting that insurers are currently obliged to offer insurance to their existing customers who have previously been flooded or are at risk of flooding under an agreement (the Statement of Principles)—currently in place between the ABI and the Government
  • Banks: the biggest clearing banks have also set up various ways in which they can help. Of course, if your bank is not on this list, then check its website:
    • HSBC: HSBC has a flood advice line (details here)
    • RBS/ Natwest:  RBS has announced an interest free loan fund for affected businesses and NatWest has established a ‘UK Storm Business Fund’ to support businesses adversely affected by the recent weather
    • Barclays: Barclays have emergency support for customers affected by severe flooding. For details click here
    • Lloyds Bank: Lloyds have set up a fund to support flood victims. It also states that it is increasing overdrafts, waiving fees and arranging loan repayment holidays for victims of the floods. For details, click here
    • Santander: Santander is providing a package of support (via a dedicated fund) and a special helpline. For details, click here
    • Nationwide: Nationwide has emergency support teams 'on hand and ready to help'. Further details can be found here
  • Farmers: A £10 million fund for farmers that have suffered water-logged fields is being set up. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will announce further details and a single point of contact shortly with the fund being open for applications by the end of February
  • Local authorities: Many local authorities can help so it is well worth checking their websites. For example, Cornwall County Council has established a dedicated Support Task Group to co-ordinate free advice and support business. Details can be found here.
  • Other businesses: Many other businesses are looking to help too. Don't forget about them!:

Finally, the Environment Agency also has a useful page on getting help after a flood including on the Construction Centre (which provides information about building products, construction professionals and trades people) and the British Damage Management Association.

Good luck!

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