Opinion Former Article

ABI: Govt has failed on flood defence spending

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."

Today's 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.
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Notes for Editors

1. Enquiries to:
Alan Leaman 020 7216 7440 (Mobile: 07957 482 330)
Malcolm Tarling 020 7216 7410 (Mobile: 07776 147 667)
Jonathan French 020 7216 7392 (Mobile: 07958 330 480)
Erfan Hussain 020 7216 7411 (Mobile: 07712 841 184)
Kelly Ostler 020 7216 7415 (Mobile: 07968 364 302)

2. In June, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Rt Hon Hillary Benn MP, 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, we called for a spend over three years of £2.25bn. Today, 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.

3. Since the flooding in June and July this year the insurance industry has been dealing with over 130,000 claims, with a total bill standing at around £3bn.

4. The ABI has been pressing the Government to act quickly to reduce the level of flood risk, whether associated with river, coastal or surface flooding. The ABI called on the Ministers to bring forward the planned increased spending on flood defences and flood management, stressing that ministers should act quickly once the Pitt Review on lessons learnt concluded its work.

5. The ABI is the trade association for Britain's insurance industry. Its nearly 400 member companies provide over 94% of the insurance business in the UK. It represents insurance companies to the Government, and to the regulatory and other agencies, and is an influential voice on public policy and financial services issues. ABI member companies hold up to a sixth of all investments traded on the London Stock Exchange, on behalf of millions of pensioners and savers.

6. An ISDN line is available for broadcasts.

More Articles by Association of British Insurers (ABI) ...

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