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Additional funding to aid post Storm Babet recovery efforts in the north-east is announced

By David Porter

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Hundreds of households and businesses affected by the impact of Storm Babet will benefit from additional funding from the Scottish Government to help with recovery.

Storm Babet affecting the esplanade at Lossiemouth...Picture: Beth Taylor.
Storm Babet affecting the esplanade at Lossiemouth...Picture: Beth Taylor.

Impacted local authorities will be allocated additional funding to enable them to provide flat rate grants of-

£1500 to people whose properties were most affected by flooding related to Storm Babet

£3000 grants to businesses where there is evidence that ability to trade was severely impacted by flooding related to Storm Babet

This exceptional additional funding was discussed and agreed during the first formal meeting of the Storm Babet Ministerial Taskforce held today. Grants will be administered by local authorities; further information on when and how to access will be made available in due course.

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Màiri McAllan said: “Storm Babet was a highly unusual weather event with severe impacts, and communities continue to suffer.

"Our thoughts are with all those dealing with the aftermath.

"We have been clear that Scotland’s response to and recovery from Storm Babet would be collaborative endeavour.

"That’s why we have been working with local authorities and those directly affected by the severe impact of Storm Babet to determine where the Scottish Government can provide additional support to local partners.

“Given the unprecedented scale of damage and impact caused by Storm Babet we have concluded that additional funding is required to support households and businesses.

“This is in addition to our long-standing annual funding of £42 million and the additional £150 million for flood risk management and £12 million for coastal change adaptation over the course of this parliament, and sits alongside the Bellwin Scheme, Scottish Welfare Fund, and additional funds to farming businesses and organisations. Our Taskforce will continue to oversee these matters and support local partners."

Existing support which can be accessed as a result of adverse weather events includes-

Council Tax relief for up to 12 months for homes which are uninhabitable and discretionary Hardship Relief for non-domestic rates for businesses where the applicant would sustain financial difficulty without it.

The Scottish Welfare Fund which exists to help people in Scotland on low incomes through crisis grants and community care grants, with £41 million invested into the scheme for 2023/24 and an average award of £715 for community care grants and £113 for crisis grants.

The Bellwin Scheme has been activated; however, given the scale of damage endured Scottish Ministers have today agreed an extension period of eligible costs from two months from the date of the incident, to four months from the date of the incident, to further support local authorities with the cost of recovery.

The Scottish Government has already pledged support for the repair of damaged flood banks, in addition to providing an additional £50,000 to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) to help bolster the charity’s Flooding Crisis Fund supporting those affected by recent adverse weather in the agricultural sector.

Seven local authorities - Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perth & Kinross, Fife, South Lanarkshire, Highland and Moray have notified the Scottish Government of a potential claim under the Bellwin scheme.

Local authorities have four months from the date of the incident to make an interim claim and until eight months following the incident to make a final claim under the scheme.

Officials have contacted councils weekly since the scheme was activated and no council is yet in a position to confirm a claim.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is made up of two different grants which are available to people 16 or older on a low income or getting certain benefits, they do not need to be repaid.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Mairi Gougeon confirmed additional support for the agricultural sector following Storm Babet during her speech at the National Farmers Union Scotland's Autumn Conference in Dunfermline on October 26.

The Taskforce committed to meet again shortly as part of ongoing recovery efforts.

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