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David Cameron announces grants to protect houses against floods


Homeowners whose properties have been swamped will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000 to protect their houses against future floods, David Cameron announced Wednesday afternoon.

Companies hit by the storms will be able to defer business rates, as well as other tax payments including VAT, while £10m is being set aside to help farmers clean up their land once the waters have receded.

Almost 6,000 properties have suffered flood damage since the start of the storms in December, potentially leaving the taxpayer with a bill of close to £30 million. That could increase sharply with floodwaters predicted to rise in coming days in the Thames and the Severn.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron repeated his promise that “money is no object in this relief effort”.

He told MPs: “I want communities who are suffering and people who see water lapping at their doors to know that when it comes to the military, when it comes to sandbags, when it comes to restoring broken flood defences, all of those things, money is no object”.


He also urged the emergency services gold commanders co-ordinating the response to flooding not to "think twice" before calling on military assistance.

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said some people in flooded communities thought the armed forces were sent in too late, and asked the Prime Minister whether help in the coming days would be provided “in time rather than after the event”.

He also challenged Mr Cameron to put planned job losses at the Environment Agency on hold.