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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 15:25 GMT
UK to receive 120m EU flood aid
Tewkesbury during the floods
Tewkesbury was badly flooded in July
The UK is to receive about 120m from the EU to help repair damage caused by heavy floods in England last summer, the European Parliament has confirmed.

The money is coming from the EU Solidarity Fund, to cover costs like rescue services and temporary housing.

About 48,000 homes and 7,000 businesses were flooded in south-west England, the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside.

Ministers will decide how to allocate the money, which must go to public bodies rather than on insurance claims.

Last month local government minister John Healey confirmed that thousands of families had still been unable to return home, more than six months after the floods, which were linked to the deaths of 13 people.

Insurance claims have topped 3bn and councils in affected areas have already received more than 18.4m in "recovery grants".

A huge amount of work has gone into getting communities back on their feet
John Healey, local government minister

The European Commission recommended giving money to the UK and MEPs have now approved the payout, meaning it is to be transferred to the Treasury.

It is the UK's first successful application to the EU Solidarity Fund, which was set up in 2002.

Mr Healey said: "Last summer's floods caused widespread damage and misery for thousands of people.

"A huge amount of work has gone into getting communities back on their feet, so I very much welcome the European Parliament's decision that the UK will receive this funding to support these efforts.

"This is the first ever application we have made under this programme. No decisions have yet been made how to allocate this money."

Danuta Hubner, the European commissioner for regional policy, said the money would help put "basic infrastructure back in working order".

But it will not go towards costs borne by insurers, such as damaged homes and cars.

Instead it will go towards paying for emergency repairs to gas, water, electricity services and phone lines and general cleaning up. It must be spent within 12 months and will have to be accounted for in detail.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, says it expects a lot of interest from its members for a share of the money.

How flood victims in Hull are coping

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