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".
The scheme is usually set up in response to weather events, but can also be used to cover other circumstances. 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 per cent of the eligible costs incurred above a threshold set for each authority, although occasionally the grant rate is increased to 100%.
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 of 1989 and revised in 2014.
A Bellwin scheme may be activated, at the discretion of the environment secretary,
Councils, police, fire and National park authorities are eligible for Bellwin reimbursement when they have spent more than the usual threshold 0.2 per cent 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.
Bellwin support or schemes are responsibility of the devolved administrations outside England. The scheme's operation in Scotland is under the control of the Scottish Government, but is broadly the same as that in England. The Welsh Government operates an equivalent scheme called the Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme (EFAS). 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.
-data to 2005.
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.