Page last updated at 19:43 GMT, Monday, 26 November 2012

Government accused over flood insurance row

The environment secretary has been accused of failing to "get a grip" on talks with the insurance industry over the future of flood insurance.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh made the comments during Owen Paterson's statement on 26 November 2012 on the weekend's floods in England and Wales.

Some 800 homes, mainly in south-west England, were flooded at the weekend, and two people died in the storms.

An existing agreement, reached in 2008 but set to end in June 2013, obliges insurers to provide cover for high-risk properties while the government continues to improve flood defences.

But talks between insurance companies and the government are reportedly at "crisis point" about flood cover.

"We were promised a deal in the spring, then by July. It is now November. What has happened?" asked Ms Creagh.

Mr Paterson replied that reports of problems in the talks were "complete nonsense", insisting that the government was committed to securing a "good deal" for householders and taxpayers.

He added that it was Labour who left office in 2010 without laying any groundwork for a replacement to the "statement of principles", the agreement between the government and insurers to ensure householders at flood risk can get insurance.

About 200 flood warnings and 300 alerts are in force in England and Wales.

Heavy rain and flooding are disrupting parts of the road and rail network as storms move on to north-east England and north Wales.

Closures, delays and safety warnings are affecting dozens of A-roads, while cancellations and delays have also hit some national rail services.

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