Public Disorder: Uninsured Claimants — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:37 pm on 19th December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Imbert Lord Imbert Crossbench 2:37 pm, 19th December 2011

My Lords, does the Minister agree that the Riot (Damages) Act, which was passed in 1886 for a different society from the one that we have today, is anachronistic, outdated and unfair? The police service has had its budget cut by 20 per cent this year. How can it afford up to £200 million in compensation? The Act has the connotation of blame. If we are looking for blame for the riots, should we look at the economic policies of successive Governments in failing to provide employment?

May I draw a picture of a single mother, living on the 13th floor of a block of council flats with three teenage children? She starts work at 5 am every morning as a cleaner, does another job in the afternoon and comes home to hungry and cold children, yet we blame her for not looking after them. They have never, in their whole lives, had a new pair of trainers but now have an opportunity. As far as the money is concerned-