Council faced a £10m flood bill

THE cost of this summer's floods to Doncaster Council has been estimated at more than £10 million.

Tuesday, 2nd October 2007, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 10:50 am

The council expects much of this money will be refunded by the Government under a Bellwin claim, which gives emergency financial assistance to local authorities, but there are concerns the taxpayer could still be left to find some of the cash.

Only costs incurred before December 14 this year will be eligible to be paid as part of a claim to the Government and some councillors are concerned about the financial repercussions this will have on the borough’s budget.

Community Group leader Martin Williams said: “The council certainly hasn’t got three to four million pounds in the coffers and this money has got to come from somewhere. Services have already been cut to the bone - to meet this kind of expense a service will have to be amputated.

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“This is certainly going to be a headache for council officers - something’s got to give.”

An extraordinary cabinet meeting heard the council has forwarded a claim to the Government for around 7 million. However, over and above this amount is a council tax income loss, which could amount to as much as 1 million. Excesses on the council’s insurance could also amount to more than 2 million. The revenue loss and insurance excess are not recoverable from the Government, which will only pay eligible expenditure over a threshold of 750,000. The RAF has already waived a 1.2 million bill for a helicopter which airlifted materials to protect the Thorpe Marsh power station.

The Bellwin claim includes some of the cash spent on the temporary caravan park at Toll Bar and white goods supplied to affected families as well as the costs of the emergency response to the floods.

Mayor Martin Winter said: “I have made a clear financial commitment to clearing up after the floods and our costs are now in the region of 10 million. I am confident that the majority of these costs will be covered by the support Government has given, and continue to give us, and that there will be no long term budget issues for us to address.”

The council has already received 1.6 million from the Government to deal with the crisis, plus a further 615,000 to be spent on repairing damage to schools and children’s centres.

Bentley Councillor Di Williams, who represents one of the areas worst hit by the summer’s flooding, said: “10 million does sound like a lot, but what do you do? It was money that had to be spent. In my opinion it was well spent too - Doncaster’s response to the floods was admirable. I’m also glad to see that most of the money should be paid by the Government so local council tax payers won’t be too badly affected by the disaster.”