Grants designed to assist flooded residents and businesses were not available to Swindon residents - because the town was not flooded badly enough.

The update comes after Swindon Borough Council leader Jim Robbins accepted criticism from Conservative members for not publicising the availability of central government grants.

When the issue was brought up at the full council meeting last month by Councillor Gary Sumner and Cllr Matt Vallender, Cllr Robbins admitted he was unaware of the schemes including grants or council tax and business rate relief.

He added that central government “had not been proactive in telling us about the grants”.

It has emerged since that Swindon wasn’t informed because it is not eligible to apply for grants, seemingly because the number of flooded properties has not met the criteria of 50 to be included in the scheme.

Cllr Robbins said: “We are keen to ensure that as many residents as possible benefit from the government’s financial support if they have been affected by flooding.

“At present, funding is available to areas depending on how many properties suffered flood damage. In Swindon we did not meet the threshold so were not in a position to qualify for the funding available. We believe this needs to change and that all residents who have been affected by flooding have the chance to benefit from the grant funding when it is available.”

And Cllr Sumner said that he thought it wrong that Swindon was excluded: “As a small unitary authority I think it’s unfair that our residents won’t get this government support because Swindon hasn’t reached a threshold of 50 flooded homes.

“If we don’t know the number that is a concern because we could have been on the government list if we’d reported that.

"Both I and my residents would appreciate Councillor Robbins getting to the bottom of this.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland is also concerned that Swindon might be unfairly missing out.

He said “I asked a question in Parliament and I have had a conversation recently with the Floods Minister [Robbie Gow MP] where I said I didn’t think it was right that Swindon should miss out, when both Wiltshire and Gloucestershire were included in the scheme and we here had more than our fair share of problems.

“Fifty incidents might not seem a lot in the great scheme of things, but here in Swindon it could be a high number. He is actively looking at it, the conversation is live and I will continue to press for Swindon to be included.”