New deal will help future flood victims

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker shows The Minister for the Environment & Rural Affairs Richard Benyon (right)
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker shows The Minister for the Environment & Rural Affairs Richard Benyon (right)

Householders and business owners in the upper Calder Valley should soon be guaranteed affordable flood cover after the Government and insurance industry agreed a new deal.

After negotiations with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), this new agreement, Flood RE, is set to replace the current ‘Statement of Principles’ that was due to run out at the end of July.

But Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said he doesn’t expect the new deal to come in to force until early next year when it will have the legal backing of the new Water Bill. Until then the current Statement of Principals will remain in place.

Mr Whittaker said: “It’s obviously excellent news. It’s the announcement we have all been waiting for.”

The new agreement will cap flood insurance premiums, linking them to council tax bands so that people will know the maximum they will have to pay.

To fund Flood RE, which will last for the next 20 years, a new industry-backed levy will enable insurance companies to cover those at most risk of flooding.

All UK household insurers will have to pay an annual levy of £10.50 into this pool, creating a fund that can be used to pay claims for people in high-risk homes.

Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley, said: “The process the Government has now announced is to be welcomed, but it is fraught with difficulties and looks like it may not even be completed by the time of the next election.”

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “Flooding is terrible for anyone affected by it. We have worked extremely hard with the industry to reach an agreement on the future of flood insurance. There are still areas to work through but this announcement means that people no longer need to live in fear of being uninsurable and that those at most risk can get protection, now and in the future.”