WORKINGTON MP Sue Hayman has raised concerns about properties and small businesses at risk of flooding with insurance bosses.

Mrs Hayman, who is also shadow Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs has met senior officials from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) at the launch of their 2019 manifesto.

She warned that if something isn't done to make insurance available to all properties and small businesses, West Cumbrian communities could turn into ghost towns.

She said: "Ensuring that businesses are covered by flood insurance is so important. If we don’t support small businesses with flood insurance, we risk losing beautiful, independent high streets, such as Cockermouth Main Street, forever, because only large national chains will be able to afford to trade there. We cannot allow this to happen.

"I know many bed and breakfasts are also unable to get the insurance that they need, and this was an issue that I raised with BIBA this week. Many business owners will not reopen if their properties flood for a third time, as the costs are simply far too prohibitive. If we don’t act with urgency to ensure that all properties are covered by flood insurance, then we face the severe risk of communities like those in my constituency becoming ghost towns, and we must not allow that to happen."

She added some homes were still not covered by the Flood re scheme. She said: "Flooding is a huge concern to a number of communities across West Cumbria, and it’s vital that flood insurance is available for every property. I represent people whose homes and businesses were flooded twice in six years, devastating their lives and livelihoods.

"The Flood Re scheme for homes and the business scheme brought in by BIBA are both welcome, but there are still some properties that aren’t covered – particularly those built after 2009. This is something I’ve repeatedly raised with Ministers, and they have told me that these homes couldn’t be built on flood plains, therefore the risk of flooding was not an issue. However, it’s clear that in the last ten years, homes have continued to have been built in areas that flood.

"It doesn’t matter that the Government says that they shouldn’t flood – they are flooding, and as a result they cannot get insurance."