Home Affairs report backs extending deadline for submitting claims

The government has been urged to speed up pay outs to victims of this summer’s riots by a heavyweight Parliamentary committee.

The Home Affairs select committee’s report on the August riots, published this morning, recommends that the government should speed up the process of reimbursing people under the Riot (Damages) Act.

The committee also backs a recommendation by Biba that the deadline for submitting claims under the 1886 legislation, currently a fortnight, should be extended to 42 days.

But the report suggests that the victims’ surcharge, currently payable at a flat rate of £15, should be reviewed with a view to increasing it for riots.

Such an increase could help to defray the costs of the act, which the report describes as “something of an anomaly”, adding that “there are few types of damage or loss which are the subject of financial compensation by the state”.

The committee’s chairman Keith Vaz MP said: “For those who lost their homes and businesses, the state effectively ceased to exist – sometimes for hours at a time. This is an utterly unacceptable situation and should never occur again.

“We must ensure these innocent bystanders receive the payments they are entitled to under the Riot (Damages) Act.”