The House of Commons Select Agriculture Committee is calling for the appointment of a “flood czar” to manage the government's flood prevention strategies.

It is also demanding tougher restrictions on building on flood plains and the doubling of the £51m set aside last autumn for improving flood defences over the next four years.

In a report, the committee said there was an awkward division of responsibilities between the environment and agriculture ministries. It added that flaws in the current system would likely remain unaddressed until a person was designated to be responsible for flood and coastal defence.

The committee's move comes as small businesses in regions such as Yorkshire, the West Midlands and Sussex are still counting the cost of last year's floods, the worst since records began in 1773. Many fear insurance companies will refuse to reinsure them against future damage.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates the total damage at £200m.