Croydon riots victims welcome change to 'out-of-date' law

Croydon was badly hit by the riots

Croydon was badly hit by the riots

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Legislation set up to ensure riot victims receive compensation is to be reviewed, as some of those affected in Croydon still wait for payouts following the 2011 riots.

The 127-year-old Riot Damages Act will be independently reviewed by former senior civil servant Neil Kinghan, who worked as a independent reviewer to Wandsworth Council following the riots in August 2011.

The review aims to ensure the Riot Damages Act protects the vulnerable and provides value for money, and will also examine the existing criteria used to determine when compensation is payable, including how it defines a riot and who should be liable to pay compensation.

Damian Green, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice said: "The Riot Damages Act was written more than a century ago and so it is only right we take action to ensure it is fit for purpose.

"The aftermath of the 2011 riots showed the need for improvements to speed up the payment of compensation to those who need it and weed out frivolous claims."

The announcement has been welcomed by Croydon Council and public meetings will be organised in the borough over the next few months.

Council leader Councillor Mike Fisher said: "We recognise the frustration this out-of-date act has caused our residents and businesses and we welcome the government’s response to our request for an independent review.

"The existing legislation originates from 1886, and is not fit for purpose.For example it does not give the council any legal powers to challenge insurance companies and do more to help those affected by the riots in Croydon in 2011."

In February, Croydon North MP Steve Reed, called on the Government to support riot victims after speaking with residents who failed to receive compensation for damage to their homes and businesses.

Bushra Ahmed, whose family’s launderette and dry-cleaners Crystal Clean was burned down during the riots, said the review was a step in the right direction.

She said: "They are obviously doing a review because it didn’t work. Around 18 months on, I am slightly nearer to compensation but there are many others who aren’t.

"For whatever reason it went wrong, if we do nothing else but learn from the mistakes that we made, it could potentially help in the future."

Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North said: "Our community was hit hard by the riots but now, nearly two years later, many people are still waiting for the help and compensation that was promised.

"We need a more streamlined and effective way of supporting people whose lives are wrecked by riots instead of legislation that was passed when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

"Too many people who were the victims of burning and looting also became the victims of an out-dated and uncaring process when they needed help to get back on their feet."

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