York Council defends flood funding policies

Arial photo of York floodingIn the wake of growing concerns about the transparency of the York Floods Disaster Fund allocation processes, the York Council has issued a statement summarising what other financial assistance is available for victims.

The Council statement reads,

York residents and businesses could receive up to £5,000 to support the resistance and resilience of their property as part of a package of financial support available.

The Government is providing the funding to enable local authorities to provide grants of up to £5,000 to homeowners and businesses that have been flooded as a result of Storm Desmond and Storm Eva to help fund additional flood resilience or resistance measures for their properties

The resilience grant will enable those who have been flooded to better prepare their homes for future flood events, both to prevent flood water from entering the property and to speed the recovery if it does.

In addition to the grant, the council is continuing to provide a raft of financial support citywide to residents and businesses.

To date, the council has helped to provide:

  • £137,000 recovery grant to 274 residents (with a one-off payment of £500)
  • Ensured 342 properties directly affected by flooding will be exempt from paying council tax, to a total value of£114,173.91
  • 92 businesses directly affected by flooding will be exempt from paying business rates, to a total value of £416,022.11
  • paid out £72,000 in grants to businesses affected.

If residents or businesses would like support to talk through these options face-to-face, help is available at the council’s West Offices, Station Rise during offices hours.

Other financial support includes:

York Council set to underspend budget allocated to help poor

Local Assistance Scheme only half forecast

It looks like the York Council will underspend its budget for welfare payments during the current financial year.

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The budget was delegated to the Council by the government replacing – in part – the Social Welfare fund.

It is intended to make emergency payments to less well off people who encounter unexpected expenses.

The York scheme is called the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS).  Its explanatory booklet says that the YFAS can be used to help with, for example:

• Expenses and household items to help you move out of residential care or stay in your home

• Rent or council tax payments

• Financial assistance in an emergency.

By the end of January nearly half of the Council’s £315,000 YFAS budget had not been committed.

A total of 1062 payments had been authorised with the authority saying that 176 of them were made to people aged under 25.

Given that the budget is not being fully spent this year, it is surprising that the Council announced last week that it will  to add another £100,000 to the payments that it intends to make next year


Meanwhile many fears about Council Tax income are proving to be unfounded.

The York Council had collected 85% of monies due by the end of December. The same percentage as in 2012.

However the number in arrears with their Council Tax payments had increased from 5556 in 2012 to 7040 in 2013.

Of these 2601 were receiving Council Tax support (formerly known as “benefit”)

Perhaps surprisingly the numbers who had been referred to bailiffs had fallen from 3996 to 2902

The Council is budgeting next year to collect an additional £1/4 million through “further improvement of collection performance”.