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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

The hon. Lady makes a fair point. I am sure that anyone who has been caught up in a riot, and who has suffered loss or damage as a consequence, feels that hugely keenly. We are talking not just about the immediacy of the situation and the fear that it creates, but about what that means in restoring a life, putting property back into place and dealing with adverse effects on a business. That has been at the heart of our debates on the Bill, and that is why I welcome and strongly endorse the approach of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley South in bringing forward the Bill and seeking to address the problem.

There are a couple of points that I would make. First, the Bill has been drafted in a manner that allows greater latitude than the Victorian legislation. I return to the point about not requiring primary legislation. Dealing with things in secondary legislation gives greater latitude and flexibility to make changes to the regulatory framework more swiftly. That reflects the fact that other items may need to be covered, or the cap may no longer be appropriate. The Bill provides a real benefit in offering that level of flexibility.

Secondly, the hon. Lady made a point about individual occurrences and events, and she pointed to some serious incidents that might have made a review appropriate. The latitude provided by the Bill lends itself well to that, because it will not be necessary completely to recast primary legislation. Some riotous disturbances may not lead to a significant number of claims, so it might not be appropriate to trigger a formal procedure such as that proposed in the amendment. The student riots in 2010, for example, involved significant policing challenges but attracted fewer than five compensation claims. We have the ability to carry out such a review, but we do not need anything with quite such a rigid structure. I suggest to the House that the Bill gives the Government the flexibility and the latitude that they need. In that context, I hope that the right hon. Member for Tottenham will be minded to withdraw his amendment.