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News story

Eric Pickles announces riot support package

Thursday, August 11 2011

Eric Pickles (Photo credit: Andrew Parsons)

Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, has announced that residents and local firms affected by the riots are in line for financial support, as part of a package of measures from the Government to help communities get back on their feet.

The one-off measures are part of concerted, cross-government action to help rebuild communities and reopen shops, rebuild damaged buildings, make sure people who lost their homes are re-housed, and to help councils get their areas back to normal as quickly as possible.

Mr Pickles also sent a clear message to councils that the Government stands fully behind councils seeking to evict tenants that are found to have taken part in the looting and rioting across the country over the last few days - this will send a strong message that crime does not pay.

The package of support being announced today includes:

  • £10m recovery fund to help councils with the immediate costs of making their areas safe, clear and clean again.
  • A £20m High Street Support Scheme intended to help get business trading again and meet short term costs. Councils will distribute the money and could use it to reduce business rates, finance building repairs and encourage customers back to the affected areas.
  • Seriously damaged homes and business properties will be taken off the respective valuation lists. This removes any liability for council tax or business rates.
  • Councils have the power to offer rate relief for local firms, but must pay a quarter of the cost; central government automatically pays for three quarters of the cost. This Scheme will help reimburse councils for their costs, to facilitate immediate and real financial help to be given to small and medium firms rebuild their local businesses.
  • Re-housing funding to meet the immediate costs of emergency accommodation for families who have been made homeless by the disturbances.

Eric Pickles said: "Our priority is to get local communities back on their feet, get businesses up and running again and make sure nobody is left without a roof over their head. We will stand side by side with communities as they rebuild their lives.

"We are making immediate financial support available to those that need help and we will continue to work closely with councils who have already responded to this violence with calm, resolve and professionalism."

"It is not just for the state to support local firms affected by these criminal actions. I encourage every local resident to make an effort to shop locally in this and coming weeks and support the local high streets which are the lifeblood of our communities."

In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Pickles also praised the efforts of Fire and Rescue Services who had been working hard to contain fires caused by those intent on destruction.

The Government has been absolutely clear that those who have committed criminal acts will be found and punished. Mr Pickles reinforced this stance today by announcing that councils will have the Government's full backing in holding any rioters living in social housing to account.

Housing Minister, Grant Shapps said:

"The people who rioted and looted over the past few days need to know that there are consequences to their actions. So they should wake up and listen to this clear message: if you live in a social home and you are caught rioting, your one night of madness could have disastrous consequences for the rest of your lives.

"Social housing is a precious resource, and the hard working taxpayers who subsidise it will be rightly wondering why anyone involved in trashing and looting our country should expect to enjoy the benefits of a social home."

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is also working with local enterprise partnerships, local authorities and business organisations to ensure affected businesses have access to practical advice, information and support. Businesses which have suffered loss should obtain a crime number from the police and contact their insurers immediately. Any uninsured individual, homeowner or business that has suffered damage to or loss of their buildings or property as a result of rioting, can seek compensation from their Police Authority under the Riot Damages Act. For more information click here.

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