£800m flood defence strategy under fire

Roger Ramsden, RBS Insurance managing director of household insurance, has hit out at “disappointing” measures on flood defence unveiled in this week’s pre-Budget report.

Ramsden (pictured) says that the proposed £800m spend on flood defences, which is due to start in 2011, do not go far enough or start early enough. Chancellor Alistair Darling set out the measures earlier this week.

It follows a stinging rebuke by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which says the industry and consumers will be affected. Darling announced £800m in spending on flood defence measures from 2011.

Ramsden, the former Prudential UK marketing director, says: “We are disappointed with the Government’s plans for flood defences over the next three years.

“As a minimum we would have liked to have seen the proposed £800m expenditure coming on stream from 2008 rather than 2011.”

He adds that insurers want to continue offering flood cover to customers but says that it is “crucial” that key lessons are learned from the Pitt Review after the flooding this summer.

The ABI says the Government has let “millions of homeowners and businesses down” by failing to give enough money to flood defences. The industry body warns that the shortfall in money could leave homeowners in areas at risk facing more trouble insuring their properties.

It adds that the Government had “completely failed to grasp the importance of improving Britain’s flood defences in the wake of the devastating floods across the UK this summer”.

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