For local authorities, exceptional assistance is available via the Bellwin Scheme to cover certain well defined circumstances, the Scottish secretary said. Grants can be made available to help with costs incurred in providing relief and carrying out immediate works.
In a statement to the Commons today in response to a question seeking his assessment of the performance of local authorities in Scotland, Mr Forsyth said:
'I am happy to pay tribute to the dedication of all of the staff of local authorities, electricity and gas companies and emergency services who coped superbly with a very difficult combination of weather over the holiday period.
Lessons for the future have to be drawn from such events, Mr Forsyth said. He announced the establishment of a working party to look for these lessons - 'not to look for scapegoats nor carry out a whitewash but to learn practical lessons.' Representatives of agencies involved will be invited to participate.