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

The amendment relates to the £1 million cap that the Government have landed on. I am probing what is behind the £1 million limit.

Someone who sets up a small business on Tottenham high street might buy the shopfront and have a home of sorts above the shop. In London the average price of a house is estimated to be £470,000, and the average price of a shopfront is a little more than that. A number of individuals on the high street found that they were underinsured, or not insured at all. The issue of insurance premiums in the kinds of areas affected by the riots is very real.

In response to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon North, we do not want to see parts of our country looking like areas of America, such as the city of Detroit. That city has experienced successive riots, has a falling population and was effectively declared bankrupt a few years ago. Showing great sensitivity to those areas that experienced riots, we do not want them to become failed communities. We want them to be communities where people can set up businesses and thrive. Successive Governments in our country have been in the business of regeneration and improvement. We do not currently have areas in our country that are like Detroit.

The question of where to set the cap is in the context of the ability to find insurance, its cost and whether some of the big players on the high street decide not to come to the area. We lost easyGym, the post office and Carpetright from our high street; all were really important for us. The big issue is whether they are going to come back. If they do not come back there is no footfall for the small independent retailers and shopkeepers. How did we arrive at the £1 million cap?

We also have to look at the regional context. The cost of running a small business in Croydon is different from the cost of running one in Salford. There is currently no regional variation before us to indicate an understanding of that.