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Clause 3 — Regulations about claims procedure

Part of Riot Compensation Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:00 am on 5th February 2016.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Home Office) 10:00 am, 5th February 2016

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right—the businesses that were affected in my constituency were small businesses along the Barking Road in Canning Town and, indeed, some in Green Street. As he rightly says, they are not like the businesses in Westfield that have massive resources behind them to enable them to make the claims, clean up quickly and get on with their economic lives.

Amendments 2 and 3 would ensure that victims were entitled to compensation for costs incurred as a result of having to seek alternative accommodation. We support those amendments too. Families should not be pushed into severe financial difficulty because their homes have been rendered uninhabitable by circumstances way beyond their control. Some families affected by the 2011 riots were not able to live in their homes for months, and some for years afterwards, putting them into severe financial difficulty. That was particularly the case in the private rented sector, but it also applied to some homeowners. We all know how expensive short-term rented accommodation can be, particularly here in London. It is only right, therefore, that that should be accounted for in the compensation awarded. I therefore urge the House to accept amendments 2 and 3.

Finally, let me turn to amendment 8, which would ensure that any money claimed in compensation for emergency relief in the immediate aftermath of a riot did not lead to a reduction in the amount of compensation a claimant might receive. It is shameful that this sort of deduction was made in 2011. We support, the amendment, because people putting money into charity buckets to help their neighbours through the turmoil of rioting do not expect the compensation due to those victims to be reduced as a result of their kindness. I am not surprised that my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon North reports that his constituents were aghast that their donations led to a reduction in the compensation doled out.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham also argued in Committee, I thought convincingly, that we do not want to discourage big businesses from helping out small businesses with which they share a high street. Deducting payments as a result of charitable giving would have precisely that unwelcome and rather unpleasant effect. I urge the House to accept amendment 8 so that, in the unwelcome event of future riots, the police and charities can work together to help communities, rather than treating support as a zero-sum game.

I heard what the hon. Member for Dudley South had to say on that matter, but I now look forward to hearing from the Minister on these issues, because I am sure he is going to make us very happy today.