London Assembly statement on the draft Riot Compensation Bill

13 March 2015

The Home Office has published the draft Riot Compensation Bill, which attempts to modernise the way small and medium sized businesses can claim compensation in the event of a riot.

This follows the publication of the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee’s report ‘Picking Up The Pieces’ in 2012, which included evidence from small businesses on the problems they had accessing compensation. The report called for an update to Victorian-era laws on riot compensation.[1]

 

Commenting on the draft Bill, John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee said:

“Our report ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, published in the aftermath of the riots, highlighted quite how out of date the existing law is - for example, leaving small businesses out-of-pocket at a difficult time.

This announcement should mean that small businesses won’t again face the double whammy of damaged premises alongside uncertainty over compensation.

This is to be welcomed – a return to Victorian-era ideology of a hands-off state could have seriously undermined small businesses, which are a pillar of the capital’s economy.

It’s more than three years since the last riots and now there are only two weeks left in this current parliament. Regardless of the outcome of the next election, this draft legislation should be a priority. While we may prefer not to think about such things we have a duty to learn from past experience and bring the law into the modern age.

The success of any final Act will also depend on the speed with which claims are paid – cashflow is critical to the success or otherwise of small businesses.

We also need to make sure the detail of the final Act offers real protection for vehicles and is clear about what is a ‘riot’.”

 

Notes for Editors:

See here: https://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/publications/picking-pieces-how-businesses-were-helped-recover-2011

John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee, is available for interview.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

 

For media enquiries, please contact Ash Singleton on 020 7983 5769. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.