The SNP Government has been told to hurry up and get support to communities across the north-east devastated by Storm Babet and facing Christmas out of their homes.
It has been almost four weeks since parts of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire were battered by several days of extreme rainfall and strong winds.
Hundreds of families now face an anxious wait to return to their homes. Some fear they could be displaced for months while businesses worry they will lose thousands of pounds.
Government minister Tom Arthur was asked in Holyrood on Tuesday to say exactly what support available.
It comes after we revealed a government taskforce set up to help flood-hit areas recover has never met and no additional funding has yet been identified.
‘Massive repair bills’
Speaking at Holyrood, North East MSP Tess White highlighted the scale of the devastation in Brechin and criticised the time taken for the taskforce to meet.
She said: “In the town, 60 council houses and 20 housing association homes need major repairs, 45 static caravans and park homes have been damaged, while countless owner-occupiers in Brechin, Finavon and Tannadice are facing massive repairs bills.
“Businesses such as Brechin Castle Centre are losing as much as £100,000. Meanwhile, Angus Council is scraping the barrel from its own reserves.”
The storm is expected to be one of the costliest weather events in Scotland’s history.
When will taskforce meet?
First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged to work “hand in glove” with local councils to assess what support is required during a visit to Brechin last month.
But almost four weeks on, no specific details of additional funding from the Scottish Government have materialised.
On the time taken for the government taskforce to meet, Mr Arthur said ministers had “already met” outside of the taskforce to discuss how they can further support the recovery.
He added: “The first meeting of the ministerial taskforce taking place on Thursday will seek to encourage co-operation between local recovery groups and co-ordinate Scottish Government actions where they may support local-led recovery efforts.”
The SNP minister said the government will be “there for the long haul” and is working with local councils to “ensure the support that is required is clearly identified”.
The Scottish Government activated the Bellwin Scheme on October 24. The scheme provides additional revenue support to local councils to assist with immediate and unforeseen costs in dealing with the aftermath of emergency incidents.
It is not intended to fund longer term repairs or costs and only kicks in after councils have passed a “threshold” of spending.
The Scottish Government had already made £42 million per year available to local authorities to invest in flood risk management actions.
It has also committed an additional £150m over this parliamentary session.