Calls For Law Change Over Riot Compensation
Experiences of the Ealing riots retold before Parliament
The Ealing Central and Acton Labour MP, Rupa Huq,has told Parliament about the experiences of local shopkeepers whose businesses were badly damaged during the night of the riots in 2011.
Ms Huq was speaking in a debate about reforming the law over compensation - which dates from 1886. The Bill attempts to redress some of the imbalances in the current legislation and revamp the compensation provisions.
She said: '' Just as everyone from an earlier generation remembers where they were when JFK was assassinated, everyone from Ealing remembers where they were when riots hit our corner of west London, which is known, justifiably, as the queen of the suburbs.''
The council’s riot scrutiny panel report from 2012 reported that over 1,000 999 calls were made on 8 August 2011 and that there was damage to 100 shops including Ravit and Amrit Khurmy's Ealing Green store which was set alight.
Footage depicting rioters trying to smash the glass window of Helen and Stuart Melville's Bang & Olufsen franchise on Bond Street was viewed 300,000 views on youtube.
Mr Melville said what happened in Ealing was like something out of a zombie movie: “28 Days Later comes to Ealing” - the Melvilles faced a bill of £10,000 for damage.
Rupa told the House of Commons that online claims should be allowed as well as claims for consequential damage. It was also recommended that small businesses should not be left out of pocket when cash flow is difficult and the speed at which claims can be processed should be speeded up.
She said: ''Touch wood, God forbid, let us hope and pray the frightening disturbances of 2011 never happen again, but we do have a duty to learn from precedent and we need to bring the law on these subjects into the 21st century. We need to defend and protect small businesses. I am a child of small business—that is what my dad did. Small business owners sometimes take enormous risks: they sometimes do not eat to put food on the table for their kids and do not take holidays. They are not even Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs); they are microbusinesses, and people such as Stuart and Helen, whom I described, and Ravi and Amrit need our support as they are key drivers of regional economies and pillars of our local communities.''
Other MPs speaking included Steve Reed of Croydon North and David Lammy of Tottenham – two other London areas affected.
The Bill continues to its next Parliamentary stages.
December 8th 2015