FINANCIAL support for Worcestershire businesses affected by the recent flooding is now available.

Worcestershire.Business.Central, the county-wide business support service, in partnership with district councils across Worcestershire, is managing the assistance.

Grants of up to £3,000 will be awarded from funds supplied by central government and supplemented by a total of £200,000 from Worcestershire County Council.

Applications are being assessed as either priority one - businesses that have had water in their premises or priority two - businesses that have been indirectly affected by the flooding of the road where it trades.

Priority One - the worst-affected businesses - can apply for maximum of £3,000, with up to £1,500 on offer to priority two applicants. Applications must be made by March 21.

In addition, flooded businesses will be able to apply to their local district council for business rate relief for a period of three months. From April 1, a non-means tested grant of up to £5,000 will be open to applications from householders and businesses to pay for repairs that will improve a property’s ability to withstand future flooding.

This support complements the multi-agency Flood Recovery Group that continues to work together to co-ordinate the clean-up operations and to offer support to affected residents as well as businesses.

The group includes Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills District Council, Wyre Forest District Council, West Mercia Police, Public Health England, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Severn Trent Water, Western Power, Worcestershire Regulatory Services and the Environment Agency.

"We are leading the efforts to help Worcestershire recover from the recent floods and this announcement...of significant extra help from the county council demonstrates our commitment to help those Worcestershire businesses most affected by the floods," said Conservative councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, Worcestershire County Council.

"We are also pleased to be able to extend that business support to Wychavon and Wyre Forest, which were not included in the first tranche of funding from central government. We are working hard to help as many Worcestershire people as we can and through the Flood Recovery Group will continue to work with central government on any additional support that is needed."

Conservative John Campion, leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said: "The district council worked with partner agencies to ensure that properties were protected and our businesses were able to continue to trade.

"We provided free parking in council car parks in Bewdley and Stourport to further support traders through this difficult period. Now, as we move in to full recovery, the district council welcomes the package of measures that will further support our communities."

Farms are being offered support by Defra to help bring their flooded land back into economic use - as either pasture or arable land - and covers areas of equipment or buildings where they directly support the agricultural activity on that land.

Further details are available from Defra on