Government urged to amend draft flood protection regulations
The UK government is being urged to amend the draft regulations for its flood protection scheme so that Welsh homeowners are not left out of pocket. The call has come from Carl Sargeant, the Welsh Assembly's natural resources minister.
Under the Flood Re scheme, annual insurance premiums will be capped and payouts for flood damage will come from a central pot of money. The cap will be based on Council Tax bands. According to Sargeant, more than 20,000 homes at high flood risk in Wales will pay more for their flood insurance compared with homes of equivalent value in the rest of the UK if the regulations are not amended.
As the scheme currently stands Wales will receive lower subsidies than the rest of the UK and see its two highest Council Tax Bands (H and I) deemed ineligible, meaning the amount householders pay for home insurance would not be capped.
Sargeant has written to his counterpart in Defra, Dan Rogerson, to express his disappointment that the UK government has so far refused to amend the regulations, despite the inequalities of the scheme having been brought to their attention by previous Welsh Assembly ministers.
Sargeant said: “We support the aims of Flood Re to promote the availability and affordability of flood insurance for high risk households. However, there has been a longstanding disagreement over how thresholds for Flood Re have been calculated for Wales. The idea of using council tax bandings to determine the ‘cap’ that homes would pay under the scheme would be reasonable if the UK had a similar banding system for council tax, but it does not."
He added: “I hope the UK government will listen to our concerns and review the situation so that when the scheme comes into force next year Welsh homeowners aren’t left paying disproportionately more for their insurance than the rest of the UK.”
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