Scotland's Employability Minister has urged his UK counterpart to meet with those who use Jobcentres threatened with closure before any decision on their future is made.
Insurers: Storms Bill hitting £1.3b
The final bill for the flood damage caused by this winter's storms is likely to reach £1.3 billion, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said.
The total figure is made up of flooding damage caused by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank during December and over the New Year to homes, businesses and motor vehicles.
The ABI said that nearly £24 million-worth of emergency payments have already been made to families and businesses following the devastation caused by this winter's storms.
And more than 3,000 families are now in alternative accommodation while their homes are being repaired.
The ABI, whose figures are based on detailed data collected from its members, said that the average payout expected for each domestic flood claim is £50,000 - compared with an average payout of £31,000 following the winter storms of 2013/14.
Of the £24 million emergency payments made so far, £9 million has been made to domestic customers and £15 million has been made to businesses.
The emergency payouts have covered costs including food, clothing and staff salaries. Costs for alternative home or business accommodation are being paid directly by insurers.
The £1.3 billion expected total for this winter's storm damage is still less than half the bill for the floods in 2007, which came to £3 billion.
The flooding bill for the storms of 2013/14 was £450 million.
As a result of this winter's storms, customers have made nearly 15,000 claims for property damaged by the flooding and more than 5,000 of these claims have come from business customers. There are thousands of smaller claims being dealt with for storm damage, the ABI said. A total of 5,600 motor claims have been received.
More than 8,300 initial visits have been made by loss adjusters, who handle the more severe claims.
James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: "The December storms have brought devastating flooding to significant parts of the UK. Insurers and their representatives have been there to provide practical help and support as quickly as possible to families and businesses coping with the trauma.''
He continued: "The impact of flooding will be felt for many months to come in affected areas. Cleaning, drying out and repairing flood damaged properties is a major undertaking. Insurers and their expert teams will be there for the long haul to help communities rebuild and repair.''
The ABI's new figures are based on data covering December 3, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
The ABI has said that anyone with flood-damaged possessions should:
:: Contact their home insurer for immediate advice on what to do next. In some cases an inspection of possessions will not be necessary.
:: Dispose of any items that are a health hazard, such as rotting food.
:: Take photos of damaged items before throwing them away.
:: List, as far as possible, details of damaged items.
:: For items like carpets and soft furnishings, take a cutting as this can help your insurer in providing a similar replacement or cash payment.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has been told to boost spending on key areas such as education, mental health and the police by about £400 million if he wants the Liberal Democrats to back his Budget.
Lloyds Banking Group has been named the top employer in Scotland for promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) diversity.
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