Hackney’s riot-hit shopkeepers still waiting for compensation
Hackney shopkeepers whose businesses were nearly destroyed by looters during the August riots have still not received a penny of the compensation to which they are entitled.
The High Street Fund was heralded by London mayor Boris Johnson who said it would provide “urgent help”.
But according to figures published by the Financial Times almost half of the 586 businesses that applied for an “immediate” �2,000 grant have yet to receive a reply, let alone the cash.
The government also set up a central compensation fund worth �250million – but so far they have only paid out �3,584 according to a BBC investigation.
Businesses in Clarence Road, Lower Clapton, were among the worst-hit in London.
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Trader Kirkland Pratt, of Finger Licking restaurant, still hasn’t received any compensation and slammed the schemes as “a joke”.
“They say they want to help but they don’t care about us. You should see the state of my restaurant – it is still leaking,” he added.
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And Siva Kandiah, 39, of Siva’s Shop, further down the road, hasn’t had a pay-out either. He says he was only able to return to business after his store was gutted because his customers launched a fundraising campaign.
He slammed the compensation process because much of the evidence he is required to provide was destroyed in the riots.
Labour’s London Assembly member Jennette Arnold, who represents Hackney, blasted the Mayor’s regeneration adviser in a letter, writing, “There is clearly an unacceptable and potentially fatal delay in getting support to traders whose businesses are under very real threat of closure.”
Cllr Ian Rathbone, who co-ordinated the ‘Save Siva’s Shop’ appeal and is chairman of the Clarence Road Traders and Residents Association, cornered work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith during a Radio 4 interview last week.
He told the Gazette: “I raised the matter of not one shopkeeper in Clarence Road receiving any compensation with the cabinet minister and he promised he would find out what has gone wrong.
“Traders have now been waiting for more than two months for compensation when we were told it would only take a few days after filling in the form.”
The High Street Fund has since promised Mr Kandiah he can expect his pay-out soon, but other Clarence Road traders have yet to hear their fate.