MP keeps up pressure for new flood deal

Nick Gibb assessing flood damage with a Southern Water contractor
Nick Gibb assessing flood damage with a Southern Water contractor

MP NICK Gibb has kept up his pressure for a new insurance deal for homeowners flooded around Bognor Regis.

Mr Gibb used a debate in the Commons last week to emphasise the importance of an agreement between insurers and the government to guarantee coverage for properties which have been flooded.

He reported he was aware of some homeowners who were already being refused coverage.

The current statement of principles which ensures universal availability of flood insurance expires on June 30. Failure to replace it will leave more people without any insurance cover.

Mr Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, also urged capital spending to improve surface water drainage systems to enable them to cope with torrential rain.

He told MPs last Tuesday: “My honourable friend (Nicola Blackwood)’s description of seeing homes in her constituency flooded reminds me of the problems I saw in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton on June 10 and 11, when more than 300 homes were flooded.

“Does she share my view that, in addition to the flood insurance issue, we need to spend sufficient capital to ensure the surface water drainage system is sufficient to mitigate such problems when heavy rainfall occurs?”

Mr Gibb later told the debate he had begun to receive letters from constituents who were finding it difficult to renew their building insurance, especially against flooding.

He asked Richard Benyon, the under-secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, if he would be able to make an announcement on the issue before the present statement expires.

Mr Benyon replied: “Let us be clear –the availability and affordability of home insurance in flood risk areas beyond the expiry of the statement of principle on June 30 are vital for members and the government.

“Flooding has a significant and long-lasting impact on communities, which I have seen first-hand in my constituency.

“The availability of home insurance in flood-risk areas provides important financial protection and peace of mind to such communities.

“The government remain committed to ongoing negotiations with the insurance industry and others on what replaces the statement of principle agreement.”