North east businesses offered flood support
Financial support to help meet the costs of business disruption is being offered to small firms in north east England affected by recent flooding.
Regional development agency One North East has joined up with Business Link and local authorities to provide a package of support to firms in affected areas. This can include financial aid to cover wage and insurance costs, and to replace essential equipment.
At its peak during the first weekend in September, parts of Northumberland and Durham experienced their worst downpour for 60 years, with 10cm of rain falling in 48 hours. The High Street in Morpeth, Northumberland, was two feet under water.
Hundreds of commercial and domestic properties were damaged in affected areas. In the North East alone, Business Link has visited more than 200 firms to assess the extent of the damage and the support required. It is mostly businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure that have been affected. Business Link North East spokeswoman Anna Wright said:
“We’ll be working as quickly as possible to ensure businesses affected by rain damage are back up on their feet quickly. If businesses contact Business Link an account manager will come out within 48 hours.”
Other parts of England and Wales were also hit by heavy rain and at one point there were more than 80 flood warnings were in force across northern England, The Midlands, south west England and Wales.
In Yorkshire, the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward is continuing to monitor potential flood sites amid ongoing severe weather warnings.
Some of them are areas that were hit by severe flooding last summer. Spokeswoman Leona Thompson said
“Our support system is still in place from last year in the event that any catastrophe like this happens. The structure is already there so we can react quickly when our help is needed.”
“A lot of businesses have also learnt from last year and have better insurance and contingency plans in place.”
The South West Regional Development Agency is keeping a “watching brief” on the flooding situation in its region.
“There has so far been limited localised flooding with few businesses affected,” said spokesman Billy McKenna.
“There is little intervention for us to make at this stage. How we would intervene would depend on how many businesses are affected and how they are affected.”
In June, Environment Secretary Hilary Ben announced that an action plan to improve flood protection would be published in the autumn. He indicated that more than £34 million would be made available to relieve the flooding that has affected hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the England and Wales over the last 18 months.
For more information about flood recovery schemes in:
- the North East, call Business Link on 0845 600 9006
- the East Midlands, call Business Link on 0845 058 6644
- the West Midlands, call Business Link on 0845 113 1234
- Yorkshire, call Yorkshire Forward on 0800 022 6201
- the South West, call Business Link on 0845 600 9966
Visit the Business Link website for tips on protecting your business from flood damage
Assess the risk of flooding in your area by visiting the Environment Agency website