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£10m to help firms hit by floods

David Cameron has unveiled a £10 million package of support for businesses hit by the floods.

Small and medium sized (SME) firms will be able to access funds so that they can meet clean-up costs and keep trading in the wake of the winter storms.

A helpline is also being set up to provide advice, and those who are late filing accounts because of the crisis will not incur penalties.

The Prime Minister said recovering from the brutal weather would be a "long haul", and he wanted to help companies get "back on their feet".

"The Government is taking action across the board to deal with the clear-up and help hard-working people affected by the floods," he said.

"Dealing with these floods will be a long haul, requiring a stepped-up national effort with the whole country pulling together.

"We will continue to help the people who need help and protect the communities that need protecting."

Firms that have been flooded or suffered significant loss of trade will be able to apply for help from the new Business Support Scheme.

Workspace provider Regus is also offering free access to wi-fi and refreshments at its business lounges, while Citrix is temporarily waiving charges for companies to try its GoToMeeting software for communicating face-to-face online.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "It is vital that small businesses affected by the flooding get assistance as quickly as possible.

"We know the insurance companies are working to process claims as quickly as possible and we will inform local authorities of their allocations from the Business Support Scheme on Thursday to assist businesses with clean-up costs or help them to continue trading."

:: The number for the Government's Business Support Helpline is 0300 456 3565

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