More than 1000 families south of the Border who are unable to move back into their homes after the winter's floods will not have to pay council tax until they do, the Government said.

Westminster Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said a discount scheme originally planned to last three months would be extended, taking the cost from £4 million to £6m.

Residents were forced from around 7700 homes in England during the extreme weather and most have returned but Mr Lewis conceded that the drying-out process for others would take "a little longer still".

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