FOR flood victim Maria Banks the offer of a £5,000 Government grant to protect homes and businesses is too little, too late.
Those hit by flooding from December 1 to March 31 can apply to their district or city council for a “repair and renew grant” up to £5,000.
The scheme launched on Tuesday and is for equipment which reduces impact of flooding.
South Hinksey resident Ms Banks, 40, a police officer, said she spent £15,000 to install two pumps and waterproof walls in her Manor Road house in 2008.
She said: “Five grand is not going to go anywhere.
“Instead of giving grants out it would be better to sort the problem out.”
She pointed to plans for a Western Conveyance Channel tunnel around the west of Oxford to divert floodwaters.
Ms Banks wheels a generator to her house in November 2012
Her home has remained dry since she put the measures in place but waters still rise outside. She said: “It might save your house but it’s still disgusting. I have to wear waders.”
She also has to take time off work to ensure the pumps are working around the clock.
John Dennehy, 48, an IT worker, said: “We’re looking at about £25,000 to protect ours.” Mr Dennehy is helping his elderly parents Michael and Maura to install flood equipment in their Western Road, Oxford home. “It’s a nice deal. But once you’re getting it from the ground, it’s a token gesture,” he said. “If the Government is putting in £5,000 and the individual is putting in £5,000, the insurance company should reduce the premium because it reduces their risk.”
Adrian Porter, 42, a manager for RM, who spent £10,000 on flood equipment for his South Hinksey home in 2007, said. “If your property is flood resilient, the likelihood of a claim or the size of a claim would be reduced.”
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: “Insurers will assess terms of coverage and premiums based on a wide range of factors, including flood risk.
“If it can be evidenced that the risk of damage to the property has been reduced, then this may have an impact, but insurers will assess risk differently, so it’s important for homeowners to shop around for the best value.”
Under the new ‘Flood Re’ scheme, payouts for flood damage will come from a central pool and annual flood insurance premiums will be capped.
The Association of British Insurers has agreed to cap the premiums of households covered by the scheme, which would be funded by a £10.50 levy on all household customers and come into effect from summer 2015.
The spokesman said: “The introduction of Flood Re will cap insurance premiums at an affordable level for hundreds of thousands of households at significant flood risk.”
s For homeowners and business owners wanting to access the grant, go to your local district or city council website for an application form. Deadline for applications is December 31.