Recently, I raised a motion in Parliament regarding householders in Scotland contributing disproportionately towards an annual £200 million UK flood-risk subsidy, through their home insurance premiums.
In Scotland, almost no new buildings are ever erected in areas at risk of flooding, compared with 11% of all new buildings in England. Of existing homes, 5% are classed as vulnerable to flooding in Scotland, compared with 23% in England. Yet in order to keep costs down in England, low-risk householders in Scotland are charged higher insurance.
The Director of WWF Scotland, Dr Richard Dixon, has said that householders in Scotland are “effectively subsidising the higher risks in England”.
Worse, this subsidy creates a vicious cycle. As flood insurance expert David Crichton, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Dundee and Honorary Visiting Professor at University College London, points out, Scottish subsidies enable continued housing development in the flood plains of Southeast England.
Unfortunately, home insurance remains Westminster’s responsibility. I would urge the UK Government to consider whether it is fair that householders in Scotland should be paying premiums in excess of the actual flood risk to their properties.
The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.