Clause 8 - Amount and payment of compensation

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

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham 2:45 pm, 13th January 2016

My hon. Friend makes a serious point. There was a similar context in Salford. That goes to the point about the £1 million cap meaning different things on the high streets of Tottenham, Ealing, Salford and Croydon. It goes to the cost of running a business, to the detail of loss of stock as a result of flooding or following fire damage because a business has been burnt to the ground, and it goes to insurance. We want businesses to be insured and not to have to rely fully on the legislation. Given that we do not want to have areas in our country that cannot recover because of under-insurance or no insurance, the point about the £1 million cap is very important.

I go right back to the very good Kinghan report, which of course suggested the cap in the first place. Options were explored in Kinghan’s review. His first option was that we set a percentage—say, 25% or 50%—as the limit of compensation that the police or Government would pay in respect of claims paid by insurers to their customers. His second option was that we put an absolute limit on any single claim that the police or Government pay to an insurer—say, £500,000 or £1 million. The third option was that the limit be set by reference to the size of the insured business, so that the insurer receives compensation only for claims made by businesses with a turnover below the limit. I liked the third option a lot and thought it was fair, because it allowed for an understanding of the differences between small businesses.

In drafting the Bill and landing on the figure of £1 million, were the Minister’s officials in touch with the Federation of Small Businesses or with high street businesses, for example small retailers and newsagents? Where did they get their estimates for the cost of running a business? Will the Minister say more about the claims we saw as a result of the rioting across the country?