[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 7 July 2007, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
PM unveils 14m flood aid package
Gordon Brown in a flood-affected home
Gordon Brown visited residents affected by the devastating floods
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced a 14m relief package for areas devastated by the recent floods.

Mr Brown unveiled the aid as he visited flooded residents in Hull and in Toll Bar near Doncaster.

Local councils will receive 10m for rebuilding, while 3m will go to repair roads and bridges, and 1m will help victims replace their lost possessions.

Hull council leader Carl Minns, who met the prime minister, said the help was welcome but "14m is not enough".

The floods hit more than 28,000 homes and 6,800 businesses, mainly in the Midlands and northern England.

'We need help now'

Mr Brown said the 14m would help get people "back on their feet as quickly as possible".

He later said: "I'm absolutely sure that the extra money that we are providing today is essential; I also know that we are going to have to provide more money for reconstruction in the future."

The 1m to help victims replace possessions will be for the Department for Work and Pensions to meet additional grant applications because of the floods. It is for the replacement of "essential household items for vulnerable individuals and their families".

HAVE YOUR SAY
It's a tragic shame, but anybody who didn't have home insurance can't go moaning about that now
Chris Handley, Manchester

Mr Brown also praised the "heroic efforts" of the emergency services, local authorities, Environment Agency and volunteers who battled to help the victims.

And he announced changes to the Bellwin scheme to make it easier for local councils to claim back additional costs from the government.

Flooded Hull resident Angelia Rudd said: "I think it's great that the prime minister has come but I hope he gets his finger out and gets us the financial aid we need; we need help and we need it now."

Her friend Kerry Milner added: "I think it's good he's come but I'm still sitting on contaminated furniture. My 10-year-old son has got asthma and the situation is dire.

"People like us without insurance need help now. I think it is good he has come, but let's hope it's not all talk."

Mr Minns said the 14m "won't even scratch the surface".

"We need future assurances that more money is on the way," he said.

'Right week'

The insurance industry estimates that claims will total 1.5bn, with claims from homes reaching 825m, and those from businesses adding up to 680m.

The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters says there have been 27,500 domestic claims with an average value of 30,000, and 6,800 claims from businesses averaging 100,000.

The work to make many houses habitable again is expected to take months.

HOMES FLOODED IN WORST-HIT AREAS
Worst affected areas

Local Government Association chairman Sir Simon Milton welcomed the "speedy response" from Mr Brown but said it was too early to have a clear estimate of the final cost.

"We will need to go back to the government in due course to ensure that people get the help that they need," he said.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said the money was a "belated" recognition of the "sheer scale" of the problem, and also said the money might not be enough.

Earlier, Health Secretary Alan Johnson - who is MP in another badly hit area, Hull - said he had been shocked by the scale of the problem, but denied the government had reacted too slowly.

This was the "right week" to start the job of assessing the damage, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Appeals have also been set up to help those hit by the floods.

The Federation of Small Businesses has set up a 500,000 fund to offer short-term interest-free loans of up to 5,000 to members suffering "severe trading hardship".

The South Yorkshire Flood Disaster Relief Fund will raise money for those affected in Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield.

The city council in Hull has launched the Hull Flood Fund.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Flood victims count the cost of damage



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific