By Jonathan Davies

Victims of the floods across the UK are being urged to seek monetary support to offset some of the financial devastation.

Organisations including banks, councils and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have agreed to waive or delay certain payments for homeowners and business owners affect by the floods.

Thousands of homes and businesses have been hit by the devastating weather this winter with the Somerset Levels and Thames Valley the worst affected. And with more rainfall forecast, there is no sign of the extreme weather letting up.

Now organisations are aiming to help reduce some of the financial burden caused by the floods.

Small businesses could benefit from waived overdraft fees as falling income and sudden, rising costs take their toll on the companies' finances.

Somerset Council said that those who have been forced out of their home for a sustained period of time could have their council tax waived for the time they are away from their homes.

With residents clearly unable to use local council services, a spokesperson for the council said it was unfair to expect residents to pay the tax.

Mortgage lenders could defer payments for up to three months. These payments would then be added to the end of the mortgage term.

Ordinarily 'missed payments' would negatively impact on people's credit rating. But credit experts, Experian, said this would not be the case. Instead, banks and building societies will not register the payments as 'missed', meaning no harm will come to people's credit rating.

HMRC has told businesses that there will be a number of special measures implemented to ensure they aren't affected even further by the floods. The tax authority said it will look to agree instalments for businesses unable to pay tax, take a practical approach to businesses whose records have been lost, suspend debt collection and cancel penalties for those who have missed tax deadlines.

In addition to the floods, hurricane force winds battered the West coast of the UK last night (Wednesday) resulting in tens of thousands of homes without power.

Compensation is usually distributed by the power distribution companies when homes and businesses are without power for more than one day.

Energy companies, on the other hand, have said they will listen to customers who face difficulty paying their bills as a result of the floods.

Insurance

With so many homes and businesses affected, there will be plenty of claims made to insurance companies.

To make the process of making a claim as easy as possible, there are a few things you can do.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) are advising people to contact their insurer as soon as possible. It said: "Speaking to your insurer as soon as you can, keeping records of personal items that may have been damaged and finding out what your policy will cover, should you not be able to return to your home straight away, can go a long way when it comes to easing the burden of making a claim."

Making lists of damaged belongings and their worth will also make your claim easier. Any evidence you can supply will go a long way to helping your claim. Although it may not be possible due the nature of the claim, providing receipts of damaged goods will help.

Take as many photos as you can to provide as much evidence as possible. You can also use a permanent marker to mark the highest level of the water - this needs to be done in every affected room, not just one. And don't forget to take photos of the mark and the water level.

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