700 riot victims still waiting for compensation

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The Independent Online

More than 700 victims of last year's riots are still waiting for their claims for compensation to be looked at nine months after the disturbances, official figures show, despite promises from David Cameron to get businesses "back up and running quickly".

David Lammy, in whose north London constituency much of the rioting took place, claimed the situation has been at a virtual standstill since March. Mr Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, will call on the Government to act during an adjournment debate in the House of Commons next Monday. He said: "There are still people who have not received payment. In some cases, even when they have, people are getting not even half the amount they claimed. Businesses are going to the wall."

In Birmingham, among the businesses hit by the rioting after it spread from the capital, was the Machan Express shop owned by Ajay Bhatia. Rioters caused more than £9,000 of damage but, after his insurers offered only £3,000 in compensation and a temporary overdraft was withdrawn by the bank, 52-year-old Mr Bhatia and his wife Monika were forced to put the store, which was visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the wake of the disturbances, up for sale.

He said: "We have worked 14-hour days, every day and have poured all of our money into this business.People need to know out there that these are the problems facing small businesses who were the victims of the riots.

"I can't be the only business owner who is suffering because of what happened."

Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police said the number of claimants in London still waiting for payment was 707 of the 3,427 who have come forward. The Force said yesterday that the payments made to victims in London now comes to £6.2m. Figures released in March showed that 161 claims made by people without insurance in London had not been settled.

On a national level, the independent panel found that around half of all claimants were still waiting. Up to date figures were not available yesterday but Mr Lammy said his office understood all claims outside the capital have now been settled.

Spokesmen for both the Prime Minister and the Home Office minister, Nick Herbert, did not respond to requests for comments last night.