Government consultation will miss July spending review

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is disappointed with the slow pace the government is taking to process responses to the flood and coastal defence funding review.

Despite a deadline for submissions on 17 May, a spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said experts will make a public response later this year, possibly in September.

"This is a long-term project and there are some detailed and complex submissions," she said.

This procedure means the responses will have no bearing on July's comprehensive spending review.

An ABI spokeswoman expressed dismay and said the ABI hoped the May deadline would mean the responses would be taken into account during the spending review.

"We did not expect an instant turnaround, but we did not expect the process to take four months. This is bad news if it is the case, because we want things to move forward rapidly."

She said the government had not been devious, but had failed to register the urgency of the matter.

"When are we going to have some change delivered?" she said.

"We know that legislation takes time, but there are some pragmatic solutions in the document which could be moved towards rapidly."

Defra has received 170 submissions, predominantly from local authorities.

Norwich Union (NU) head of household products Nick Pierson is hoping the end results will yield a robust

UK plan with proper funding and a shake-up of financial organisation and prioritisation.

"The government does not take into account the social costs of flooding," he said.

"There is also a debate around ratios and the cost benefit analysis. There needs to be a sensible allocation of money and I hope this issue is addressed."