As Chair of the Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel, I recently had the privilege of meeting some of the local residents and traders who were affected by the catastrophic flooding of the Upper Calder Valley one year ago.
Both residents and businesses alike deserve immense credit for their response to the floods and it is heart-warming to see so many of the businesses trading successfully once again. Moving forward, it is incredibly important that the Council continues to do everything within its power to support the economic viability of the flood-hit communities. Ensuring that householders can access the affordable insurance that will allow them to continue living within the communities of the Upper Valley is an integral part of this and that is why I was so delighted to hear the recent government statement on flood Insurance. Richard Benyon, who is the Minster responsible for flooding, announced that following extensive discussions with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Government had established the principles for a new flood insurance solution based on ABIs “Flood Re” proposal. Customers would be free to shop around to get the best overall deal from an insurer of their choice. As well as limiting the potential for price rises, with some customers seeing prices fall, Flood Re would also constrain the excesses that could be imposed on households at high flood risk. The benefits of Flood Re would be targeted towards those who need it most, helping those who are particularly hard-pressed with the cost of living. Furthermore, the ABI has assured ministers that their proposal can be introduced without impacting customer bills in general. There will be no contingent liability for the Government or the taxpayer from the Flood Re scheme. Whilst the precise details of this proposal are still being worked out, this announcement is potentially fantastic news for those local residents living in areas at risk of flooding.
Cllr Scott Benton
(Conservative, Calderdale Council)