Flooded homes will be exempt from paying council tax for three months under a plan drawn up by Surrey councils and the police.
Surrey County Council announced the plan on Friday (March 7), saying it had been drawn up to help families affected by the recent severe weather.
The downpours last Christmas and in February caused millions of pounds worth of damage, saw rivers including the Mole and Wey burst their banks, and left parts of East Surrey, including in Horley and Redhill, underwater.
County council teams tackled hundreds of flooded roads, plus fallen trees and damaged bridges. Last month, the emergency services, councils, the Environment Agency and the Army helped thousands of people affected by River Thames flooding. More than 1,000 people were rescued by Surrey firefighters. The county council announced recently it had been put under a “huge” extra financial burden by the double impact of the flooding over Christmas and last month, and stated that the repair bill to fix Surrey’s roads and bridges affected by the floods over Christmas had spiralled to £12.5 million - without even taking account last month’s flooding. Now, the county council and local councils, together with Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner have agreed that residents whose homes have suffered internal flooding will not have to pay any council tax to them for three months.
Announcing the scheme, county council Leader David Hodge said: “We want to do all we can to help those residents who have seen their home flooded in the last few months.”
Coun Hodge said: “The flooding has turned the lives of many people upside down and we hope three months without having to pay council tax will go some way to helping them get back on their feet.”
Around 2,000 homes that have suffered internal flooding are covered by the scheme. Borough and district councils will identify which households will get the offer.
The scheme is set to cost the county council around £750,000 and will mean the average Surrey council tax-payer saving around £500 on their annual bill.
It is hoped much of this sum will be recouped from the Government’s £4 million fund to help flooded families. However, this fund will be shared out across the country, so it is not certain how much Surrey will finally get.
Coun Hodge added: “It is vital that we give people certainty when they are going through such difficult times, and we wanted to make a clear offer to those whose homes have suffered internal flooding as soon as possible.”