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Clause 8 — Reviews and appeals

Part of Riot Compensation Bill – in the House of Commons at 11:15 am on 5th February 2016.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 11:15 am, 5th February 2016

We are verging into the language used on Second Reading when we discussed how the terms of the existing Riots (Damages) Act 1886 are not fit for the purpose of providing compensation in the event of a riot. The Bill provides good flexibility. It is important to recognise that it enables matters to be dealt with by way of secondary regulation. If certain changes are required, we would not necessarily have to address them through primary legislation, with all that that entails. Indeed, as has been discussed, the Bill enables us to increase the overall cap by negative procedure.

In essence, our debate about amendment 10 is about whether primary legislation should include a mandatory requirement to review. In our judgment, that is not necessary, because of the flexibility given by the Bill, which has been well debated. The scrutiny the House has given it means that it is now fit for purpose for the years ahead, because of the latitude it contains. It enables changes to be made in a relatively straightforward way through the processes and procedures of this House and the other place.

The amendment addresses the question of the regularity of scrutiny and whether a review should be undertaken every time some form of riot takes place. In our judgment, that is bureaucratic and we question whether it would achieve the desired result. It is always open to Government to review legislation, and it is absolutely right and proper that they keep it under close review. That may not necessarily happen on a timed basis, but an event may occur whereby the Government will respond—indeed, the House may prevail on the Minister in question to do this—by conducting a review of the legislation, to judge whether it is still appropriate. The Bill does not prevent that flexibility—far from it. It can still happen.

My hon. Friend Mike Wood has spoken of the general approach to reviewing all legislation within three to five years of the date of Royal Assent. Therefore, in any event, come what may, there will be an assessment of the Bill. Rather than having fixed points, the Bill provides flexibility to make changes. The regulatory framework enables the issue to be contemplated in that way—it provides latitude—and that is the appropriate way to deal with it. Indeed, it is right and proper that, if such events were to happen, the House could say to the Government, “Look at the Bill now. This is the right time to do it,” without that being reflected formally in the Bill. For those reasons, we judge that the amendment is not needed.