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Emergency funding scheme for councils to help with weather costs

The Bellwin Scheme will support the clean-up in areas worst affected by the recent severe weather.

An emergency funding scheme has been opened for local authorities in the wake of the Beast from the East.

The Scottish Government said it will consider applications for financial assistance through the Bellwin Scheme after Borders Council requested help.

The discretionary fund is designed to help councils who face an undue financial burden as a result of large-scale emergencies.

It was recently activated in the wake of flooding by Storm Frank at the start of 2017, with millions of pounds given to repair damage in the Borders and Aberdeenshire.

It is now open for applications from all councils impacted by recent severe weather events, or those at risk from flooding as the snow melts.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “We are committed to helping our communities remain resilient and this support will help local councils deal with any immediate and unforeseen costs resulting from the recent heavy snow falls and ongoing cold weather.

“Although we expect to have seen the worst of the severe weather, we’re aware there remains a flooding risk in some areas as the snow melts.

“The Scottish Government has been holding regular meetings of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room (SGoRR) to monitor the situation and I would urge people continue to take care and to check for the latest guidance from Police Scotland throughout the day.”

Cosla president Alison Evison said: “Scottish Borders Council requested that the Bellwin scheme be triggered and it is good to see that the Scottish Government has responded so quickly and so positively.

“Financial support for councils who have been worse hit by recent weather events and for those councils who are at most risk from flooding as the snow melts will be crucial, given the challenges already facing council budgets.

“This is how partnership working between the two spheres of government should work and it is good to see it in action.

“There must be a continued constructive dialogue to ensure that the necessary financing is always in place so that local councils can get on with delivering essential services and paying their staff appropriately whatever the weather throws at us.”

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