A year after the riots, the Hassans still wait compensation

8/8 One Year On: ANDREW PELLING has revisited some of the victims of last year’s riots. The neglect he has discovered is shocking

The Hassans, 17 years after escaping persecution in their native Pakistan, had to watch the business they had built up burnt to the ground

A little more than 11 months ago Mumtaz and Mujahida Hassan were hopeful that they would soon be back on London Road trading after their business – Crystal Clean Laundrette – was destroyed in the 8/8 riots.

They told Inside Croydon last August that “we want to get back to serve our old customers as soon as possible”.

Yet a year on from the riots, Mumtaz Hassan is still unemployed as the family waits for compensation under the Riot Damages Act.

The Hassans desperately need him to be back in work in order to care properly for their children, two of whom are blind, with significant cognitive challenges.

The Hassans were insured and their insurers have paid out but the payout is nowhere near enough to provide the size of deposit needed to start a loan on a new business property in the London Road.

The Hassans’ experience with the Met’s administration of the Riot Act compensation claims mirrors those of others with the process, seemingly designed to delay any payout.

The delays may be saving the Met Police money but as time passes the victims suffer more than the rioters and the demands upon the state’s resources go up.

Mujahida Hassan says that, “Politicians made very big promises straight after the riots that compensation would be paid out quickly. It’s a shame for such a big country like Britain that the promises are not honoured.

“The Mayor, Boris Johnson, did not even reply to our letter. When we went to the Conservative office in Purley they listened but they did not really seem interested. Malcolm Wicks, the MP for where our business was, is the only politician who has shown any concern.

“The Met have linked our claim with the claims of 28 different landlords, so slowing our claim. We can’t keep waiting like this.

“The Council officials recognised our plight but said that if they gave us the necessary funds to re-start our business this would set a precedent for others.

“The stress is hurting our health.”

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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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