Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Thursday, 5 July 2012 11:46 UK

Spelman: Government nearing deal on flood insurance

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has told MPs the government is nearing a deal with the insurance industry on flood insurance.

During environment, food and rural affairs questions on 5 July 2012, Labour MP Julie Hilling asked what ministers were doing to ensure universal availability of flood insurance.

Mrs Spelman said ministers were "at an advanced stage in intensive and constructive negotiations with the insurance industry" on a deal to come into force when the current statement of principles expires.

The previous Labour government agreed the statement of principles on flood insurance with the insurance industry in 2008. It expires in 2013.

Ms Hilling claimed that AA insurance believes that "some homes will not be able to renew their flood insurance this year because their new policy will extend beyond the life of the statement of principles.

"This situation is now urgent. She must resolve this. When is she going to sign the deal?"

Mrs Spelman retorted that Labour "had two years in government from the time it agreed that the statement of principles would not be renewed and found no solution, leaving this government with a ticking time bomb in the same safe where there was no money left".

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said she was disappointed by the secretary of state's "party political comments" and claimed that Labour ministers "behaved admirably" after floods in 2009.

She accused the current government of cutting spending on flood defences and accused Mrs Spelman of a "total lack of progress" on flood insurance.

The environment secretary repeated that it was the Labour government who agreed with insurers not to renew the statement of principles.

"We have found a way forward which will provide for universality and availability of flood insurance," she said.

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