Cutting red tape to help flood victims

Feb 28, 2014 | Uncategorized

Shropshire farmers and rural businesses hit by severe flooding are being urged to make the most of the financial and tax support on offer.

The Government has pledged £10 million to help business owners struggling in the aftermath of the latest round of floods, and now HM Revenue and Customs has joined banks and building societies to give their support too.

DY Director, Mark Bramall, said: “Farmers and rural businesses have been struggling to cope with unprecedented weather conditions for months now, and there’s no sign of any let-up.  But now there is a real opportunity to benefit from some invaluable help measures that look set to make a real difference, so it’s vital that farmers and business owners take full advantage.”

HMRC has launched a new telephone helpline for anyone directly affected by the floods, and Mark said some really positive steps had been introduced.

“Taxpayers who are unable to pay as a result of the floods can be given the option of paying in instalments and HMRC is also looking to agree a sensible, practical approach when vital records have been lost due to rising water levels.

“They can suspend debt collection proceedings for flood victomes and cancel any penalties due if a taxpayer has missed payment deadlines.

“There is enough for farmers and business owners to worry about with their livestock, crops and property when it comes to flooding, so it’s excellent news that HMRC are taking away the added pressures of keeping up with the paperwork.”

Mark said the banks and building societies had also taken a pragmatic approach to dealing with those worst affected by the weather.

“Many of the big name organisations are offering mortgage repayment holidays, overdraft extensions and faster access to cash loans to help with emergency costs.  The banking sector is working closely with the agriculture sector in particular as they know the financial implications of flooding can be ongoing for farms – long after the water itself has subsided.

“At a time when the landscape of our county has been transformed so dramatically by rising waters, it’s clear that any support farmers can access to help them through these difficult times is extremely welcome.”

The Government’s £10 million Business Support Scheme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses to access funds to cover clean-up costs, with the money distributed to local authorities so they can help businesses directly or indirectly hit by the floods.

Mark Bramall

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