Bellwin scheme

The Bellwin scheme is a United Kingdom government emergency financial assistance which "reimburses local authorities for costs incurred on, or in connection with, their immediate actions to safeguard life and property or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience as a result of a disaster or emergency in their area".[1]


The scheme is usually set up in response to weather events, but can also be used to cover other circumstances.[2] It is a discretionary scheme which exists to give special financial assistance to local authorities which would otherwise be faced with an undue financial burden as a result of providing relief and carrying out immediate work due to large-scale emergencies. Where the criteria of the scheme are met, the grant is normally payable to authorities at 85% of the eligible costs incurred above a threshold set for each authority, although occasionally the grant rate is increased to 100%.[3]

The scheme is named after a 1980s environment minister, Lord Bellwin, who, as Irwin Bellow had been leader of Leeds City Council. In 1983, Bellwin introduced the compensation scheme, which was incorporated in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989[4] and revised in 2014.[5]

A Bellwin scheme may be activated, at the discretion of the environment secretary,

  • when an emergency or disaster involving destruction of, or danger to, life or property occurs;
  • and, as a result, one or more local authorities incur expenditure on, or in connection with the taking of immediate action;
  • or to safeguard life or property or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience in a local authority's area or among its inhabitants.

Councils, police, fire and national park authorities are eligible for Bellwin reimbursement when they have spent more than the usual threshold 0.2% of their calculated annual revenue budget on works which meet the above criteria that have been reported to the Department as eligible for an announced grant scheme.[6]

Bellwin-like schemes under the devolved administrations of the United Kingdom

Bellwin support or schemes are the responsibility of the devolved administrations outside England.[1] The scheme's operation in Scotland is under the control of the Scottish Government, but is broadly the same the English scheme. The Welsh Government operates an equivalent scheme called the Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme (EFAS).[7]

The Northern Ireland Executive has established specific, time-limited schemes rather than a single equivalent to the Bellwin scheme. The most recent scheme expired on 31 March 2013. It was known as 'the flooding scheme', and was established in explicit response to large-scale flooding in Northern Ireland in Autumn 2012.

Events for which the Bellwin scheme has been enacted


Double-deck burning in 2011 england riots
2011 England riots
2005 Buncefield oil depot fire



In January 2014 Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that during the 2013–2014 floods the Bellwin scheme would refund 100% of local spending, with the threshold of 0.02% of annual council revenue also reduced. He also announced that a full review of the Bellwin scheme was also to be undertaken, with a view to future reform.[17][18]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Bellwin Scheme Communities and Local Government". What the Government Says. 6 February 2014. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  2. ^ "The Bellwin scheme" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Bellwin Scheme". localgovglossary. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  4. ^ {{cite web|archive-url= |url= |publisher=Department for Communities and Local Government |archive-date=2008-12-05 |access-date=2014-01-17
  5. ^ Pickles announces shake-up of emergency funds after flooding, BBC Democracy Live, 6 February 2014. Retrieved: 8 December 2015.
  6. ^ "10/07/2012 – Government implements 100% Bellwin scheme to help flood hit councils". Association of Drainage Authorities. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Welsh Government|Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme". Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  8. ^ Kuenssberg, Laura (2017-06-15). "Govt confirms Bellwin scheme, that releases extra cash for councils, will apply to help cope with aftermath of awful fire". @bbclaurak. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  9. ^ "North west England floods 2015: government response". Environment Agency. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Government announces £7m extra for flood recovery". Farming UK. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Emergency weather funding scheme opened". BBC News. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  13. ^ "DFM triggers Bellwin Scheme". The Scottish Government. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Scottish Government invoke Bellwin Scheme to support Flooded Communities". Flooding & Coastal Erosion Risk Management Network. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  15. ^ Urquhart, Frank (22 November 2012). "Bellwin scheme set to help Perth and Kinross Council with Comrie flood repair costs". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Review of the Bellwin Scheme – A Consultation Paper". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  17. ^ Johnstone, Richard (6 February 2014). "Pickles extends Bellwin scheme for flood-hit councils". Public Finanace. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Pickles announces shake-up of emergency funds after flooding". BBC News. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.

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