IT was encouraging to see the news this week that flood affected homes and businesses will be able to apply for government funding to help with the clean up.

It is a scheme I expect many in and around Worcester will take advantage of given the devastation caused to areas such as Powick, Tenbury and Upton in the last few days.

The question remains, however, whether this is just papering over the cracks?

Should more have been done at an earlier stage to prevent people's homes and businesses being flooded?

Offering a family £500 after they have been forced out of their home is a bit like putting a plaster on a broken leg, it isn't going to cover much of the cost of the damage.

If the government had invested in better flood defences, and had developers not insisted on building on flood plains, the situation could have been avoided.

In Worcester alone we have seen the flood defences on New Road be beaten because those responsible did not count on the volume of water we saw this week.

Despite these problems it is good that something is being offered to help people get their lives back on track.

It is small consolation to someone who has seen their property devastated, but at least they can get something for their trouble.

Praise should also go to all the emergency services personnel and kind souls who helped out their neighbours amid the flooding: helping them carry furniture upstairs, install sandbags and just checking if they are alright. It is this community spirit we should all be proud of.

I would encourage anyone who has been affected by the flooding to at least see if they are eligible.

Families can apply for up to £500 plus 100 per cent council tax relief, while businesses can apply for up to £2,500 plus 100 per cent business rates relief.

It is well worth applying for - you rarely get anything for free in this life.

The flooding is not over yet across Worcestershire, not by a long shot, as heavy rain is still expected, which could see us back in the same miserable situation this time next week.

All we can do is prepare and hope the extra disruption and damage is kept to a minimum.