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The Bellwin scheme provides emergency financial assistance to local authorities in England. Such assistance is usually provided in response to an emergency caused by the weather, but relief may also be available in other circumstances. In recent years, the scheme has been activated in the aftermath of the explosion at the Buncefield fuel depot (2005), extensive flooding in Yorkshire, the Midlands, Cumbria and the North West during the 2000s, the riots of summer 2011, flooding in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017.

Bellwin funding is designed to recompense authorities for the costs of emergency measures undertaken to safeguard life or property, or to prevent further suffering and inconvenience locally, during exceptional circumstances. There are strict rules on the types of expenditure that are eligible for reimbursement.

This note describes how the scheme works, and includes examples of occasions when Bellwin funding has been used. It also refers to similar schemes in operation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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