Prime Minister David Cameron has visited flood-stricken householders in Devon today and has promised to take a “tough approach” on negotiations with insurers over homes in danger of flooding.
Mr Cameron, who is understood to have flown into Exeter this afternoon, met homeowners in Buckfastleigh which was one of the several communities in the region to be hit by flash-flooding at the weekend.
He said: “It is obviously very traumatic when communities are hit by flooding like this but what I found are people are incredibly steadfast and have behaved incredibly bravely at handling the flood and now we need to help them with the recovery.
“We have to make sure their insurance pays out, make sure the Environment Agency puts in place good flood defences, make sure there are better warning schemes.
“There are always lessons to learn and I wanted to come here and hear it for myself.”
Mr Cameron also visited recently-built flood defences on the River Dart, which have helped protect the local area from worse flooding.
Up to 200,000 high risk properties are at risk of being priced out of affordable cover when a deal struck in 2000 between the then Labour government and insurers ends next summer.
The Government has been in talks for two years but as yet an agreement has not been reached.
Following his visit to the South West today, the Prime Minister said: ““I’m sure we will do a deal. We are in negotiations at the moment.
“We need to take a tough approach frankly and it’s important insurance companies do what they are meant to, which is provide insurance to households and we are going to make sure that happens.”
The Prime Minister defended his Government’s record on providing flood defences despite a cut in the budget.
“We are spending over £2 billion on flood defences over the current four-year period, which is 6% less than was spent over the last four years.
“But as well as that, we are actually encouraging private and other money into flood defences and making sure they are more efficient as we build them.
“I am quite convinced we are going to provide flood defences for another extra 145,000 homes over the period ahead and that’s very important.”