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UK floods

Have your clients or your business been affected by flooding? Businesses in the worst-hit areas could face lengthy disruption to their operations and sizeable recovery costs. Find advice and practical resources with our quick links, briefings and articles.

General advice

GOV.UK has news updates and community support advice for the winter 2015 flooding in the north of England. Anyone affected by the recent floods can call the government's Floodline number 0345 988 1188 for help.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency's Floodline website provides live flood updates and advice for the public and businesses in Scotland.

The Environment Agency offers national flood warnings, information and advice with guides on making flood plans, preparing your business for flooding and advice for the public on planning, managing and recovering from a flood.

Business continuity

Accountancy practice Lamont Pridmore, in association with the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, have created a Business Survival Toolkit and Business Continuity Checklist to support businesses recovering from flooding.

Food businesses

Food businesses can seek specific advice on flood damage to premises and stock from their local authorities. The Food Standards Agency has general flooding food safety advice.

Health and safety

The TUC offers advice for employers and union representatives on health and safety issues in flooded areas.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has published BS 85500:2015, a new standard setting out guidance for improving the flood performance, resistance and resilience of buildings. The accompanying BS 85500:2015 core document, which contains the main principles and applies to straightforward situations only, is free to download. 

Insurance

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is reassuring homeowners and businesses hit by Storm Desmond that insurers are doing everything possible to help them recover.  The ABI provides information for insurance consumers on flooding, including these guides:

The British Insurers Brokers Association (BIBA) can help you find specialist flood insurance in your area.

ICAEW Business Advice Service

The Business Advice Service provides professional advice for owner-run businesses, startups and SMEs, enabling businesses to receive an initial consultation at no charge from an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

If your business has suffered from the floods, the Business Advice Service may be able to help by providing a Chartered Accountant who can review your current trading position, as well as advising on strategies to tread water until the situation improves.

Disruptions to business: tips for recovering from floods 
December 2015
Flooding accounts for nearly 10% of business disruptions in England and Wales. ICAEW Head of Enterprise, Clive Lewis, gives his top tips for keeping your business functioning – even in the eye of the storm. The article looks at:

  • acting fast
  • getting the business back up-and-running
  • the insurance process
  • protecting management and financial information
  • undertaking a risk assessment
  • contingency planning for future floods
  • considering supply chain problems
  • business reputation.

HMRC

HMRC launched a tax helpline on 8 December 2015 to offer practical advice on tax problems, such as payment of penalties and loss of records, caused by flooding.

HMRC's press release stated that they were able to:

  • agree instalment arrangements where taxpayers are unable to pay as a result of the floods;
  • agree a practical approach when individuals and businesses have lost vital records to the floods;
  • suspend debt collection proceedings for those affected by the floods;
  • cancel penalties when the taxpayer has missed statutory deadlines. 

Telephone the helpline on +44 (0)800 904 7900. Opening hours are:

  • Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) 8:00–20:00
  • Saturday and Sunday 8.00–16:00

Companies House

Companies House support for companies affected by flooding 
After the 2014 floods, companies unable to file accounts on time as a result of flooding were advised to contact Companies House to agree an extension or exemption from penalties. 

We will update this section if Companies House issue any further advice following the December 2015 floods. 

Government measures

The Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, made a statement on 7 December 2015 on the impact of Storm Desmond and flooding in the north of England. She confirmed that the Bellwin scheme will be open for local authorities affected by floods, with 100% of eligible costs met by the Government.

The Government has now announced a number of additional financial measures to aid individuals and businesses. These include: 

The Environment Secretary has also announced that a new Cumbrian Flood Partnership group will consider what improvements to flood defences in the region may be needed and publish a Cumbria Action Plan in summer 2016. Additionally a National Flood Resilience Review will be carried out to investigate how to better protect the country from future flooding and extreme weather events.

ICAEW Support Members Scheme

Support members are a network of volunteers, who are experienced ICAEW members trained to help fellow members who are facing difficulties. They offer free, confidential advice and support on personal and professional issues.

ICAEW advisory helplines and services

ICAEW members can make technical enquiries and get specialist advice through the advisory helplines. Advice is free and confidential.

CABA

The Chartered Accountants' Benevolent Association (CABA) provides advice and practical support to current and former ICAEW chartered accountants and their families.

Contact CABA for confidential emotional support, debt advice, health support and financial assistance.

Disclaimer: These publications from Atom Content Marketing are for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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