490 per cent flood insurance hike ‘could sink business’

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AN entrepreneur whose offices were wrecked by flooding fears he could go under after his insurance leapt nearly 500 per cent to £6,500.

Les Bennett has a software company for renewable energy, but also lets space to start ups on West Dock Street in Hull.

Mr Bennett - who had to make a member of staff redundant this week to help balance the books - had his plight raised in the House of Commons by North Hull MP Diana Johnson.

It comes as soldiers completed their inspection of more than 9,400 flood risk sites in Yorkshire as part of an operation announced by Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond in February.

Mr Bennettt’s business was flooded by the tidal surge on December 5. His tenants are now in temporary buildings but he still doesn’t have a date for contractors to start work. He said: “My landlord told me my insurance for the building was going up from £1,1000 to £6,500. I had a ring round to see whether other tenants had similar increases and was told of once case where someone had their excess increased from £1,000 to £100,000.

“If you look at Hull 93 per cent is on a flood plain do we abandon it or don’t we have business because we can’t insure them?”

Ms Johnson has called for a debate about the Government’s Flood re scheme which excludes small businesses and farmers from the guarantee of insurance cover in flood prone areas.