Hackney businesses hit by the August riots have been “left in limbo” by the London Mayor’s compensation fund, with one describing it as a “joke”.
Launching the High Street Fund in the direct aftermath of the riots, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson told businesses the scheme would be “easy to apply for” and would pay out “as swiftly as possible”.
He said: “Small businesses need urgent help to repair damage and get goods back on the shelves.”
Nearly three months on, the Financial Times (FT) has revealed that half of the 586 companies which applied to the fund have yet to hear whether their applications have been successful.
The FT also claims that less than a third of the £3m fund has been distributed.
Kirk Pratt, of Fingerlickin’ Carribbean Takeaway on Clarence Road, last month told the Hackney Citizen that “business isn’t happening” and has described this unhelpful situation as a “joke”.
“They say they want to help but they don’t care about us,” said Kirk, who works alongside his mother Cherry. “You should see the state of my restaurant – it is still leaking.”
An official for the fund, which was set up bwith the support of large companies such as Barclays, Lloyds and Deloitte, claimed it still had an “impressive record”.
However Labour London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold OBE, has written to the Mayor’s regeneration advisor, saying the hold-up is inexcusable.
She wrote: “Given that we are now in November, and the riots occurred in August, there is clearly an unacceptable and potentially fatal delay in getting support to traders whose businesses are under very real threat of closure.”
Ian Rathbone, chair of Clarence Road Traders’ and Residents’ Association (CLARTRA), said: “Traders have now been waiting for more than two months for compensation when we were told it would only take a few days filling in the form. This is really adding insult to injury.”/ 17 November, 2011