Clause 6 - Delegation of Secretary of State’s functions

Part of Riot Compensation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 13 January 2016.

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Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government) 2:45, 13 January 2016

I will be brief. The proposal for the Secretary of State to be able to set up riot claims bureaux is welcome and a sensible move forward.

First, after the 2011 riots one of the problems was that communities did not have a voice in decisions taken about compensation or about models of reinvestment in affected areas. For example, in Croydon the council set up an independent riots panel with the community, but three years later, when I held a review meeting with people who had participated in the panel and with businesses and agencies affected by the riots, I found that not one of its recommendations had been implemented in full. That was extremely disappointing for the community, who had been told that they would be listened to and that action would be taken, although, regrettably, subsequently it was not.

Secondly, the riots recovery fund allocated by the Greater London Authority, a sum in excess of £20 million, was handed to the council, but half the money was spent in an area that was not among the worst affected by the riots and the other half was simply left in the bank account for several years until the GLA asked for it back—reasonably, if the money was not going to be spent. The businesses and property owners in the affected areas again felt severely let down, because not only had they been promised additional support, but it had been made available and never used.

If riot claims bureaux are to be set up, are the Government minded to ensure community representation on them? The needs and wishes of the community should be fully represented in decisions taken in the aftermath of riots, if we are ever unfortunate enough to see a repeat of the disturbances that happened in 2011.