Affordable insurance cover must be offered

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AFFORDABLE insurance must be available to Morpeth’s flooded residents, councillors have said.

Morpeth Town Council has written to the Government this week seeking reassurance that a scheme will be put in place to ensure people will be able to obtain flood cover at a reasonable cost.

A Statement of Principles is currently in force between the Government and the insurance industry to maintain cover for at-risk properties where plans for an alleviation scheme are in place.

But the agreement does not restrict levels of premiums and the whole deal is due to end in June next year, which could see some households struggle to find insurance cover at all.

The town council set up an insurance working group with the Morpeth Flood Action Group and Chamber of Trade after the 2008 flood to present a national system whereby all policyholders would contribute to a community flood levy, keeping costs down.

But while then Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman spoke in July of plans to set up such a scheme, including cross-subsidy and levy elements, nothing firm is yet in place.

Morpeth working group Chairman David Parker said: “The Government seems to be working towards things that the Morpeth group has been trying to get it to do now for nearly two years to do with cross-subsidies.

“We have written to the Government now saying this is what was said in July, how are the discussions going, are you aware that here in Morpeth some flooding has occurred again, and the Statement of Principles is coming to an end so get on with it.

“I’m hopeful that the Government is moving in that direction, which is good because it will at least mean that affordable insurance is available.

“It is very difficult for people to live with this situation of flood risk, but I hope that they will be able to do so and that they are not faced with having to abandon their homes because of insurance problems, and nor is the town faced with any blighting as a result of that.

“I’m hopeful that will not happen, but we are writing to the Secretary of State to try to get some more information about insurance.”