Government spin tackled flooding last week as firefighters waded through East Anglia streets.

Flood minister Elliot Morley circulated a letter to MPs stating the government was spending the money it had planned to spend in the 2000 Spending Review.

Morley told MPs at least no one had died in last year's floods and that emergency arrangements were much better placed to deal with flooding this year. None of which dealt with insurers' concerns that better flood defences need to be built to protect homeowners.

Morley signed off: "I hope this is helpful." MPs may have been reassured, but the Association of British Insurers (ABI) was not so easily hoodwinked. "It is not clear to us that the expenditure announced today represents an increase on previous plans," said a non-plussed spokesman.

Meanwhile in Gloucester, one of the worst-hit areas last year, plans for new flood defences were turned down, according to one West Country Insurance Times reader. "The Treasury won't back it."