Time ebbs away

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GIVEN the extent to which Gordon Brown’s government was criticised for its desperately slow response to the Yorkshire-wide floods of 2007, it is ironic that it is Labour which is now pressing for a new insurance deal for the owners of flood-hit properties.

The Opposition’s urgency over the renewal of the pivotal “Statement of Principles”, now backed by MPs from across the political divide, contrasts with the coalition’s obfuscation that has reached crisis point. Up to 200,000 homes face the prospect of being left without cover unless Defra reaches a new agreement with the insurance industry in the next three months.

There are no easy solutions; public spending on flood defences cannot keep pace with need while the extreme weather of recent times has increased the liabilities of insurers.

That said, householders continue to see their premiums (and taxes) rise and they have a right to expect Ministers and their insurers to protect those who cannot afford to lose everything if their home becomes flooded.