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Bellwin Scheme (England)

21 July 2021/Categories: Grants_and_Funding

Grants to local authorities in England which would otherwise be faced with an undue financial burden as a result of providing relief in response to large-scale emergencies and carrying out immediate work.

Fund Information

Funding body:
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
Maximum value:
Discretionary
Application deadline:
None specified

Background

The Bellwin Scheme is a discretionary scheme which exists to give special financial assistance to authorities which would otherwise be faced with an undue financial burden as a result of providing relief in response to large-scale emergencies and carrying out immediate work.

The scheme takes the form of a specific grant payable against revenue expenditure incurred by local authorities above a defined threshold in meeting the costs of safeguarding life and property following an emergency.  These include the cost of immediate preventative work to clear up and repair damage, the provision of temporary rest and shelter to affected residents, and the temporary closure of affected roads, paths and the provision of signage.

There is no automatic entitlement to financial assistance.  Ministers are empowered by Section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to decide whether or not to activate a scheme after considering the circumstances of each individual case.

The scheme has usually been operated in respect of weather-related disasters, but the potential category of disasters is very wide and includes certain costs arising out of civil aviation accidents and off-farm disruptions.

Objectives of Fund

The scheme aims to provide emergency funding to help deal with the aftermath of a local disaster.

Value Notes

The government will pay 100% of the costs incurred above the threshold based on each individual local authority's budget.

Before being eligible for a grant, an individual authority is required to have spent 0.2% of its annual budget on works that have been reported to the Department as eligible for grant.  This amount is the authority's threshold and applies to the whole financial year, not to each incident within the financial year. 

Match Funding Restrictions

The government will pay 100% of the costs incurred above the threshold.

Who Can Apply

Eligible organisations include:

  • County councils.
  • District councils.
  • Greater London Authority.
  • London borough councils.
  • The Common Council of the City of London.
  • The Council of the Isles of Scilly.
  • A police authority established under schedule 3 of the Police Act 1964: police authorities can apply directly for a Bellwin scheme, however, where a police authority provides assistance to a local authority, it is also open to the police authority to enter into an agreement with the local authority under section 25 of the Police Act 1996 and to recoup its additional costs direct from the local authority, rather than apply for a separate Bellwin scheme.
  • A joint authority established by Part IV of the Local Government Act 1985, other than a metropolitan county passenger transport authority.
  • A Combined Fire Authority.
  • A National Park Authority or Broads Authority.

Before being eligible for a grant, an authority must have spent at least 0.2% of its annual budget on works that are eligible for Bellwin grants. This is known as their threshold.

Restrictions

Most capital expenditure will not be eligible for Bellwin grant. Any capital claims would need to demonstrate:

  • Given the existence of wider capital budgets, why additional (as opposed to simply re-profiled) capital expenditure was necessary to safeguard life and property.
  • That this capital expenditure offered better value for money than the alternative of current expenditure. The Department should be consulted before including any capital expenditure in a claim.

The following can also not be supported:

  • Costs which are the responsibility of one authority cannot be claimed by another in order to take advantage of a lower Bellwin threshold.
  • Costs which are normally insurable, for example, the shoring-up or dismantling of damaged buildings, or damage caused by terrorism.
  • Environment Agency levy costs.
  • Loss of income.
  • Longer term works of restoration and repair such as tree planting.
  • Repair to non-dangerous structures.
  • Any element of betterment, such as repairing buildings to a significantly higher standard than they previously were.
  • Expenditure that qualifies for any other grant support such as police grants.
  • Specific works on flood defence or coast protection which had already been allocated within budgeted expenditure to these works before the incident occurred.
  • Any expenditure on flood defence or coastal protection that will be compensated by DEFRA.
  • Capital expenditure of a long-term nature and therefore not linked to safeguarding life or property following an emergency or disaster.
  • Normal wages and salaries of the authority's regular employees, whether diverted from their normal work or otherwise, and the standing costs of the authority's plant and equipment.

Eligible Expenditure

Costs associated with safeguarding life or property, or preventing suffering or severe inconvenience in the applicant's area or among its inhabitants. Examples of eligible expenditure include:

  • Setting up temporary premises, including costs of removal, rent, rates, heating.
  • Hire of additional vehicles, plant and machinery.
  • Removal of all trees and timber which are or may be dangerous to the public.
  • The costs of initial repairs to highways, pavements and footpaths, where for example a tree or debris from a damaged building has fallen.
  • The costs of initial land drainage works to clear debris and unblock watercourses which are or may be the cause of danger to the public.
  • Additional temporary employees or contractors, to work on the emergency or replace permanent employees diverted from normal work.
  • Overtime for employees.
  • Emergency works required to safeguard dangerous structures.
  • Costs of evacuating people from dangerous structures.
  • Costs of temporary mortuaries.
  • Emergency supplies of food and other emergency provisions.
  • Maintaining key communications, especially clearing roads or providing information to affected communities.
  • Costs incurred under the Military Assistance to the Civil Community Scheme, such as use of helicopters.
  • Legal, clerical and other charges.

Location

England

How To Apply

Local authorities must report the incident within one month of it taking place.


Useful documents & links

Useful Links


Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. Bellwin Scheme Enquiries
    Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
    Zone 5/H10
    Eland House
    Bressenden Place
    London
    SW1E 5DU
    Email: [email protected]

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