FLOODED homeowners should receive insurance payouts quicker to ensure they can return to their homes as soon as possible, according to Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Miliband said the Government was "too slow" to appreciate the seriousness of the flooding, which has caused devastation across the county since the start of the new year.

He also said the priority is to ensure people are getting all the help they can during a visit to Moorland and Northmoor Pumping Station today (February 18).

He thanked Environment Agency staff, emergency services and volunteers who are helping to control the floods.

The Labour chief is the latest in a long line of politicians to visit the Somerset Levels, following Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has also visited, along with Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith. 

Mr Miliband's visit coincides with a Downing Street summit where the Prime Minister met representatives from the insurance industry to discuss flood compensation.

Otto Thoresen, director general of the Association of British Insurers, said the industry had paid out "millions" in emergency payments to those affected.

Meanwhile, Royal Marines from 40 Commando are due in Chadmead, North Newton, to help sandbag this afternoon.

At Burrowbridge, Royal Engineers are preparing the ground for a fuel pipeline to supply Saltmoor Pump, with the pipeline due this afternoon.