Grants for flood victims announced

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Businesses and homes affected by floods will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000 to protect their properties as they repair the damage caused, David Cameron has announced.

The prime minister repeated his pledge that "money is no object" in the relief effort and told MPs there would be a £10m fund to help farmers with waterlogged land.

"I can also announce today that we will be deferring the tax payments that businesses have to pay and all of the businesses that have been affected by floods will get 100% business rate relief," he told MPs on 12 February 2014.

Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the measures but challenged the prime minister over whether he would reverse 550 proposed redundancies at the Environment Agency.

"Given yesterday's promise to make sure we have a resilient country for the future and spend whatever it takes is he committing now to reconsider these redundancies and to reconsider the amount of money we invest in flood defences?" he asked.

Mr Cameron said the government was spending £2.4bn on flood defences between 2010 and 2014 which he said compared to £2.2bn in the previous four-year period.

He told the Commons the Environment Agency and all local authorities will have to look again at their flood preparations once the crisis is over.

But Mr Miliband said there were "real doubts" about making people who deal with flood defences redundant and urged him once again to reconsider.

Mr Cameron accused him of trying to divide the House "when we should be coming together for the nation".

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