Riots payouts 'could hit £300m'


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The Independent Online

Government payouts to victims of summer rioting in the capital could total £300 million, it was disclosed today.

More than 3,800 claims from business and property owners have been received by the Metropolitan Police Authority.

The state is legally obliged to pay for repairs in the wake of the mass disturbances which gripped much of England in August.

Bob Atkins, the MPA's treasurer, estimated the total value of claims to be between £250 million and £300 million.

Some of the smaller payouts could be completed by January, he told London Assembly members at City Hall.

He said staff were still working seven days a week to process claims.

"The lower claims which have been well-documented will be processed quite quickly," he said.

The riots have already provided a costly strain on the courts and justice system.

Violence that spread across England in August will see prisons swell by up to 1,000 extra inmates over the next year, figures show.

Record numbers of prisoners have already been seen as the thousands of rioters involved in the disturbances faced tough sentences when they came before the courts, taking the prison population to an all-time high of 87,673 last month.

The Ministry of Justice is considering contingency measures if the numbers rise further, and its official estimates show the impact of the riots will continue to be seen in prisons for two years.