Ed Miliband in Somerset today to discuss flood insurance

The Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, is visiting Somerset flood victims today to discuss insurance claims. His visit coincides with a Downing Street summit on the issue.

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Labour leader demands accelerated flood payments

It's been revealed today that businesses affected by flooding on the Somerset Levels have lost on average more than £17,000 each in just six weeks.

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce estimates trade is down a quarter.

The news came on the day Labour leader Ed Milliband visited the Somerset Levels to find out how people are getting on with insurance claims.

Our political correspondent Bob Constantine reports:-

Flood Appeal fund grows

An appeal set up to help victims of flooding on the Somerset Levels has now raised £400,000. The fund set up by the Somerset Community Foundation aims to provide emergency relief grants to families flooded out of their homes.

It will also help with with longer term support for businesses and communities that are affected.

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Miliband: Quicker insurance payouts to victims needed

Ed Miliband has called for much quicker insurance payouts to ensure flood victims can return to their homes at a faster rate.

The Labour leader, who visited flood-hit Somerset today, said families who had been forced to abandon their homes needed reassurance that they would not have to wait for months to receive insurance pay-outs.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called on the insurance industry to pay out at a faster rate. Credit: PA Wire

Insurances chiefs are due to attend a meeting at Downing Street today to discuss their response to the crisis.

“Of course it takes time to repair homes damaged by flooding, but 12 months to complete an insurance claim is far too long," Mr Miliband said.

"The Government must sit down with insurers and agree a new industry standard that significantly reduces the time that people have to wait to have their houses restored and move back home.”

Could beavers be the answer to Somerset flooding?

A beaver swimming. Credit: PA

There are calls for beavers to be reintroduced to the wild as part of the future management of water to prevent flooding. A native species hundreds of years ago, British beavers were hunted to extinction.

The dams they build in tributaries and ditches hold back water upstream, allowing it to dissipate slowly into the river system, reducing the potential flood risk. Campaigners believe a project to bring them back to the wild really could help and is achievable.

A dam built by beavers in Germany. Credit: PA


Trade down a quarter thanks to floods

Businesses affected by flooding in Somerset have lost more than £17,000 each in just six weeks.

That's according to a survey by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, which estimates trade is down a quarter on average.

Half of those questioned said their journeys to work had doubled and they were also hit by phone and computer problems. The chief executive says the £10million pledged to help flood-hit businesses will only scratch the surface.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce says flood-hit businesses have lost £17,000 each Credit: ITV News West Country

David Cameron flood package

The Prime Minister said today that he aims to visit every flood-hit area around the country and that recovery would be "a great national effort."

David Cameron visited Gloucester - his second trip to the region in just over a week to reveal details of a £10million package of support for businesses hit by the floods.

Our political correspondent Bob Constantine reports:-

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Police launch 24-hour boat patrols on Somerset Levels

Police have launched 24-hour boat patrols to help residents and prevent crime on the flooded Somerset Levels.

Avon and Somerset Police will work with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the RNLI to run the patrols:

Two inflatable lifeboats have been provided by the RNLI, while 15 volunteers from the Welsh RNLI Flood Rescue Team have travelled to Somerset to provide help.

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