MP Reed condemns “disgraceful” failures over riot pay-outs

More than two years after the 2011 riots, and there’s still 133 people who claimed official compensation who are yet to receive a penny to help them re-build their homes and businesses.

The symbol of Croydon 2011: But more than two years on, many victims of the riots have yet to receive compensation

The symbol of Croydon 2011: But more than two years on, many victims of the riots have yet to receive compensation

Those are the findings of Steve Reed OBE, the MP for Croydon North, based on figures from the Metropolitan Police.

Reed highlighted the bold – and still unfulfilled – promises made by Prime Minister “Call Me Dave” Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson when doing photo-ops for the world’s media on the wreckage-strewn streets of Croydon in the days immediately after the northern part of the borough were devastated by arson and looting on August 8, 2011.

“With the eyes of the country on him, David Cameron promised the victims of the riots they would not be forgotten and would not be left out of pocket,” said Reed, now a Labour shadow Home Office spokesman.

“It’s disgraceful there are still residents and business owners in London facing financial hardship because they have received either too little compensation or nothing at all,” Reed said.

“I have repeatedly asked the Prime Minister if he will meet with the riot victims who feel abandoned and ignored by the Government and the Mayor of London.

“David Cameron has failed to keep his promise to the victims, the very least he could do is meet them, look them in the eye and explain why.”

The figures released by the Metropolitan Police showed 3,535 claims had been made by last November under the Riots Damages Act 1886, amounting to £299 million.

Yet cash totals paid out by the Metropolitan Police were £46.9million – barely 15 per cent of the amounts claimed. The number of claims still to be settled was 133.

City Hall rejected Reed’s claims. “Everyone who wasn’t insured and made a valid claim has been paid, and over 96 per cent of insured claims have been settled. Only the most complex cases remain,” an official spokesman for London Mayor Boris Johnson’s Office for Policing And Crime told the Evening Boris.

Always ready for a photo op: PM David Cameron in Croydon in August 2011. What has he done to fulfill promises to the victims?

Always ready for a photo-op: PM David Cameron in Croydon in August 2011. What has he done to fulfill promises to the victims?

“It is simply untrue to say that people are yet to receive a penny following the 2011 riots in London. All of the outstanding claims are either funds owed to insurance companies, or to settle under-insured elements of claims.

“In the last year the number of outstanding claims has reduced by over two-thirds. During the summer the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime met with a number of claimants and the insurance industry to hear their concerns and to help resolve the final issues around remaining cases, so that they are moved forward in a timely manner.”

As Inside Croydon reported on the second anniversary of the Croydon Riots last August, independent research conducted by the BBC found that 75 per cent of the policy recommendations that were put forward after the riots have failed to be addressed by the Government. And even companies such as Croydon’s Reeves furniture business which was seen burning to the ground in television pictures beamed around the world had yet to receive any compensation, whether through insurers or the Riot Act compensation scheme.

“We were indemnified by our insurance company so they’re taking up our claim under the Riots Act. To be honest we’ve not really heard anything about that… how far that’s got through the insurers I can’t say,” we reported Trevor Reeves as saying four months ago.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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7 Responses to MP Reed condemns “disgraceful” failures over riot pay-outs

  1. davidcallam says:

    Mr Reed says many riot victims have not been compensated: the Mayor of London says they have.
    Perhaps Mr Reed could raise his concerns in Parliament and challenge the Prime Minister to support his chum Boris Johnson, or to clarify the position.
    I suspect the true culprit is the Act of 1886, which is no longer fit for purpose. Maybe Mr Reed would like to work with government, in the interests of his constituents, to replace this arcane legislation with something that meets the needs of modern Britain.

  2. davidcallam says:

    A neutral observer might argue that the Labour Party had ample opportunity to amend the Act while it was in government.
    Surely the important point is to do something now, rather than treat the unfortunate victims of the Croydon riot as party political ammunition.

    • It’s not a party political point, but a historical one. The government between 1981 – when the last urban riots occurred across Britain – and 1997 did nothing about reforming the Riots Act. Indeed, they opted to largely ignore the recommendations of Lord Scarman’s report, which they commissioned after the Brixton Riots.

      The same government had another reminder of the impact of the Riots Act after the civil disturbances over the Poll Tax, too. Did nothing. Again.

      There were no riots to bring the use of the Riots Act into focus between 1997 and 2010.

      Conservative-led governments are not known for their reformist agendas, and Cameron’s lot has not tabled any legislative changes regarding the Act in the two years since Croydon burned, so don’t expect them to do anything about it before 2015, either.

      Probably better to lobby Labour’s Home Office shadow minister. What reforms would you suggest?

  3. 1886 Act a poor piece of end of term legislation from a Liberal government.

  4. davidcallam says:

    Lobby Labour huh? Are you really calling an overall majority for Mr Miliband this long before polling day?
    That’s either very brave or foolhardy.

    • No David.

      Only yesterday, someone suggested, on this very website, that “Maybe Mr Reed would like to work with government, in the interests of his constituents, to replace this arcane legislation with something that meets the needs of modern Britain”.

      In fact, it appears this suggestion was made by … a Mr D Callam, of Croydon.

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