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The Bellwin Scheme for Emergency Financial Assistance to Local Authorities

1. What is the Bellwin Scheme?

The Bellwin Scheme operates under Section 155(2) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and allows Scottish Ministers to make additional revenue support to local authorities to assist with the immediate, and unforeseen costs in dealing with the aftermath of emergency incidents.

It is a discretionary scheme, which exists to give special financial assistance to local authorities who 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. Local authorities are expected to include a small amount within their annual budget to deal with unforeseen emergencies. There is no automatic entitlement to assistance. flooding image

2. How does the Bellwin Scheme operate?

When it becomes obvious that there is an emergency which is creating immediate demands on local government, the Scottish Executive Ministers will decide whether the Scheme should be triggered. Once the Scheme has been triggered, affected authorities are invited to submit claims. The Scheme may be activated to meet the additional expense for authorities in providing immediate relief, in safeguarding life and property in affected communities and in keeping key communications open in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. Its purpose is not to put right all the ill effects of an incident. Applications for assistance must demonstrate undue financial burdens on authorities.

3. What costs are eligible for assistance?

The Scheme addresses revenue costs only and eligible costs are subject to a threshold which is set individually for each local authority and takes account of an assumed amount contained within each local authority's budget. Payment of a grant is made in full in respect of total eligible expenditure, after deduction of the threshold.


Costs which are considered to be insurable are not considered eligible under the Scheme but an element for insurance excess is considered eligible.

4. When was the Bellwin scheme last reviewed?

A review of the Bellwin Scheme was undertaken in 2005. A summary of the responses that were received and the Executive response to the consultation exercise can be found by following the links below.

Scottish Executive response to Bellwin consultation exercise

Summary of Bellwin consultation responses

You can also review the press release announcing the proposed changes to the Bellwin Scheme

5. Where can I find the updated documents?

The link to the full revised guidance note which contains the relevant updated information for making a claim and the claim forms, and the current Bellwin Thresholds.