Copeland MP Jamie Reed, Labour’s shadow floods minister says, “Cancelled flood defence schemes and changes to flood insurance are causing communities up and down the country to begin to fear for the future. The fear among many is that Government action will lead to whole communities becoming not just uninsurable, but unmortgageable.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed, Labour’s shadow floods minister, fears a “gathering storm” is brewing with the 27 per cent cut to flood defence spending over the next four years. And he is worried about the impact of that, coupled with changes to home insurance due in two years’ time.
The insurance industry has an agreement with the Government committing it to provide cover for customers, as long as flood risk is properly managed. But this runs out in 2013 and what will happen then is still being discussed.
Speaking at the inaugural Northern Flood Conference at the University of Cumbria’s Carlisle campus, Mr Reed urged delegates assembled from flood-risk areas across the north of England, academia and the insurance industry to “make their voices heard”.
Mr Reed said: “We are 18 months away from a major change to flood insurance for homeowners and businesses.
“There is a huge amount of anxiety about this and, at the same time, the Government has cancelled a host of flood defence schemes and cut flood defence spending by 27 per cent.
“This represents a gathering storm.
“Cancelled flood defence schemes and changes to flood insurance are causing communities up and down the country to begin to fear for the future. The fear among many is that Government action will lead to whole communities becoming not just uninsurable, but unmortgageable.
“The reality is that entire communities could be blighted and whole families could be forced to accept not just simply negative equity, but their most precious assets becoming valueless.”
Mr Reed says the Government must listen to communities which have suffered floods, ensuring the scheme set to come into place from 2013 is “fair to those millions of homeowners up and down the country who require ready access to flood insurance”.
Parts of Cumbria have suffered heavily from flooding in recent years including Carlisle in 2005 and Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick in 2009.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was committed to making sure insurance was available even with a risk of flooding.
Flood defence spending is £2.1bn between 2011 and 2015, compared with the £2.36bn the Labour government spent between from 2008 to 2011.
First published at 11:28, Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk