Most businesses in the areas of the recent rioting have been affected in some way. Even those serving the public on the fringes lost revenue either because people stayed away thinking it too risky to come there, or because management decided to close much earlier than usual and get their staff out of the area before nightfall.
Of those small businesses that were damaged by rioters, sadly many will not survive. But there is some help out there for those determined to struggle on.
Claiming for Damage and Loss
The Riot Damages Act of 1886 is still in force, which means that businesses can claim for damage to goods and premises or loss of stock by looting. Unfortunately, the form to be used to make claims is an antique, but you do have six weeks to submit it. As long as the police agree that a riot was taking place in your area at the time, your claim should be honoured, though it could take some time for the cash to arrive. You might also benefit from a suspension of council tax and business rates for a while.
Claiming on Insurance Policies
Support is available from the Forum of Private Business if you aren’t sure whether your insurance will cover you. Whether or not you are a member, its underwriters will assess your cover and give you free advice if you call them on 0845 130 1722.
HM Revenue and Customs has set up a telephone helpline for people and businesses affected by the riots. If you are going to have trouble meeting your tax commitments or you have lost your tax records in the mayhem, call it on 0845 3661207 any day between 8 am and 8 pm. The department has pledged to be sympathetic with difficulties, not to impose surcharges and to review whether penalties should be imposed.
Entrepreneurs Help Each Other
Various other types of support have been offered by businesses keen to help. Social media sites are full of such offers, for example:
- @riotcleanup is a new twitter account where people can offer assistance and publicise cleaning up events
- Workspace Group, a London commercial property company, is offering temporary storage and work stations for those in need
- Stockline Ltd can help with high quality refurbishment where needed for damaged property
- Lockaid has country wide branches that can help with general security, including boarding up or repairing windows.
It’s good to see the business community pulling together like this. If you are among the lucky ones that haven’t been adversely affected, perhaps there is something you could offer.