Thursday, 9 May 2013

51 days and counting for answers on home insurance for residents at flood risk


Reading West's Parliamentary Candidate Vicky Groulef is standing up for local people on this, but   as she says in her press release (reproduced below) time is running out and the government is failed to renew the agreement that Labour in government came to with the insurance industry.
This is shocking and affects people in Reading from Pangbourne to Whitley, a real concern.  It's awful enough to have been flooded but to then not be able to get insurance would be a real blow.

Victoria Groulef, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Reading West, is accusing local Conservatives of "trying to smooth over" real concerns for families trying to get home insurance in the flood plain.
Victoria said "Today the local Conservative MP and a local Conservative Councillor were holding a public meeting for residents in Pangbourne to receive advice on flood insurance.  What Mr Sharma is not telling residents is that his Conservative-led Government have failed to commit the insurance industry to provide flood insurance at reasonable rates to those at high risk of flooding and there was no sign of any relevant legislation in Wednesday's Queen's speech.
"Mr Sharma knows that in 2002, the Labour Government agreed a Statement of Principles with the insurance industry, through the Association of British Insurers, committing the industry to provide flood insurance at reasonable rates to households at high risk of flooding, providing the Government continued to invest in flood defences. This Statement expires on 30 June 2013, 51 days from now."
"The Government needs to legislate to ensure that when the Statement expires, households in high risk areas will still be able to access affordable flood insurance, but that legislation was notably absent in the Queen's Speech.  Instead they have been dragging their feet.   Even the Conservative Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson,  has admitted that 'time is running out' to get a solution before the statement expires (see below).
"Residents are either facing huge insurance costs or taking the risk and going uninsured.  It is far from an ideal situation. Mr Sharma can sandbag if he likes but the reality will soon become very clear for many living in areas at risk of flooding".
From the Hansard for Efra Select Committee, 26 March 2013, Q37/21
Mr Paterson: It is almost certain that whatever solution we come up with, it will need some primary legislation and the ABI is perfectly well aware of that. We have a massive interest with them in getting this right for the long term and coming to a solution. We really are working very closely with them.
Chair:           Realistically, it cannot be in the Water Bill because we are probably not going to see that before June. The chances of getting primary legislation through before the end of June to deliver a replacement to the statement of principles-it is quite a tall order.
Mr Paterson:           I am suggesting that we could add clauses to the Bill, but you are right that we are getting to the end of March and time is running out.