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09 December 2015

FSB calls for long-term support for businesses in flood risk areas

The Government has announced that it will be making up to £2,500 available to businesses affected by flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire to help them get back up and running when the water recedes. They are also suspending business rates for many of those affected until they are trading again. Responding to the proposed package of relief, John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small businesses, said:

“For many of the small businesses impacted by flooding this will come as very welcome news – but for some, £2,500 will not even come close to covering the cost of rebuilding their business.

“We would urge the Government to identify the hardest hit businesses and consider additional funding support for these exceptional cases.

“Recent FSB research suggests around 75,000 smaller businesses at risk of flooding have found it difficult to find flood insurance and 50,000 have been refused for flood insurance cover.”

FSB has previously expressed serious concern that small businesses are excluded from the Government’s flood programme, Flood RE, which guarantees affordable flood insurance.

John Allan continued: “Ministers should look again at the availability of affordable and comprehensive flood insurance for small businesses, potentially through a dedicated Flood Re style agreement.

“The financial cost to small businesses following the 2012 flooding was £200 million. We can’t hope to create a buoyant economy, particularly in rural areas, if vulnerable small businesses can’t sufficiently protect themselves from increasingly unpredictable and severe weather that in the worst cases can close a business.”