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£1.2m to help flood-hit families

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The Government has announced more than £1.2 million of funding to help 1,500 families hit by this summer's floods to meet their council tax payments.

Hundreds of households faced the misery of being left homeless following the floods and have had to rely on home insurance firms to make speedy payments to help them through the crisis.

The new funding, which is to be shared by 25 councils, will ensure that affected families receive council tax discounts so that they do not face bills for homes that are uninhabitable.

Latest estimates show that the number of families still out of their homes has more than halved since the end of June, falling to around 1,100. Almost 50,000 homes were affected by the flood water in total.

Homes that were unoccupied and in need of major repair were exempt from council tax after the floods - but these exemptions are only allowed for a year.

Floods recovery minister John Healey wrote to councils in June urging them to use their discretionary powers to give council tax discounts of up to 100%. He also pledged that the Government would cover this cost so that other local council tax payers are not unfairly affected.

© Press Association 2008