The Association of British Insurers have slammed the Government’s planned expenditure on the UK’s flood defences as too little too late.And now its members, facing bills of up to £3 billion for this year’s floods, may even withdrawn from insuring flood risk.Commenting today in response to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on flood defence spending, Stephen Haddrill, the ABI’s Director General, said:
“The insurance industry is helping tens of thousands of people affected by flooding this summer, but the Government has now failed to play its part. Millions of homeowners and businesses around the country have been let down by the Government’s failure to commit sufficient money to new and improved flood defences.
“Government spending for the next three years is less than we were asking for, even before the floods. It does not begin to address the major issues, including drainage, which were highlighted this summer. The Government will have to increase spending substantially as needs are identified by the Pitt review team.”
In June, the Secretary of State Hillary Benn, announced that flood defence spending would increase to £800m in 2010/11. The ABI, with many others, pressed for this rise to be brought forward so that higher investment could begin now. Before the floods, it called for a spend over three years of £2.25bn. Yesterday, the Government announced that spending will be £650m in 2008/09 and £700m in 2009/10 and £800m in 2010/11, a total of just £2.15bn.
” The announcement of the next three years’ spending on flood defences shows that the Government has completely failed to grasp the importance of improving Britain’s flood defences in the wake of the devastating floods across the UK. The insurance industry will be conducting an in-depth review of this summer’s floods. This will form part of the forthcoming review of the ABI Statement of Principles on the Provision of Flood Insurance.”