£50 million fund set up to help Storm Desmond flood victims


Households and businesses affected by recent floods will benefit from a £50 million fund, George Osborne announced.

The Chancellor said families would be able to claim up to £5,000 each to deal with the damage wrought by Storm Desmond.

Funds will be distributed by local councils in an effort to overcome "administrative problems" that delayed previous emergency payments, he told the Commons as he stood in for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions.

Labour's Angela Eagle said only 15% of those affected by last winter's floods had received promised financial assistance.

The announcement came with flood-hit communities facing the prospect of more heavy rain as the clean-up continues.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for rain and wind across northern England and Scotland, with gusts of up to 70 mph predicted.

The Environment Agency (EA) said one severe flood warning, indicating there is a risk to life, remained in place for the River Wyre at St Michaels, Lancashire, while there were 20 less serious flood warnings and 29 flood alerts.

Cumbria Police said its estimated worst-case scenario was that as many as 6,425 homes were flooded in the county after Desmond struck.

An estimated 5,000 households and companies forced from their properties by flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire are to be given temporary relief from their council tax and business rates.

Three lives have been claimed by the recent extreme weather.