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Riot (Damages) Act 1886

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East 2:30 pm, 12th December 2011

What plans she has to review the Riot (Damages) Act 1886.

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

A review of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 is under way, and will consider all options for reform. It will include all learning from the August disturbances, and will involve consultation with people affected by them who made claims under the Act as well as organisations involved in the recovery. We expect it to be completed before the end of the current financial year.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East

I commend the Minister for the positive way in which he is engaging with Greater Manchester police authority, which, as he knows, carries a liability of more than £9 million as a result of the disorder in August. As he conducts his review, will he ensure that there is more clarity about responsibilities and the financial support given to police authorities by the Home Office, and that more pressure is put on the insurance industry to deal with claims promptly?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. We have been concerned about the rate at which payments have been made, and last week I convened a meeting with representatives of the insurance industry to discuss the matter. They assured me that, according to their latest assessment, some two thirds of businesses have received a partial or full payment. However, there ought to be processes to ensure that people are paid more swiftly, and such processes need to be sorted out by police authorities and the industry.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

Many of the people who have made claims under the 1886 Act have done so because of damage to their motor vehicles, but in 1886 the car had only been invented for a year. Can the Minister assure me that his review takes into account all the possible forms of damage so that no one will be excluded?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

It is true that uninsured vehicles are not covered by the Act, as no one envisaged the need for them to be. They would be covered if they were on private property, but not if they were in a public place. Of course, if vehicles are insured, a claim can be made against the insurers. This is one of the issues that we shall have to consider in the review.