Communities minister, Bob Neill visited Woolwich town centre to see the damage caused by rioters and to explain how Government will help them to rebuild their community.
Local council leader Chris Roberts and Chief Executive Mary Ney showed Mr Neill around the affected town centre, where he listened to local experiences and witnessed the clean-up operation already in full swing. The Minister also met Greenwich councillor, Nigel Fletcher, to discuss the clean up operations.
In Woolwich the jewellers, banks and bookmakers were attacked and the local Wetherspoon’s pub was left almost completely burned down, damaging what is normally a bustling town centre.
The Minister also met with local Fire and Rescue crews to thank the teams for their tireless work over the past few nights to ensure the safety of the local community and limit any fire damage to homes and businesses.
Bob Neill said:
Residents of Woolwich should be in no doubt that we are doing everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets and to make them safe for the law abiding citizens.
Our next priority is to help local communities rebuild their lives, get businesses up and running again and make sure nobody is left without a roof over their head.
Today we have made immediate financial support available to those that need it and we will continue to work closely with Greenwich Council who have already responded to situation. Even in the face of shameful criminal behaviour by rioters, local fire crews have carried out their duties bravely and professionally. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.
Finally I want to encourage every local resident to make an effort to shop locally in the coming weeks and show your support for the high street here.
The package of one off support being announced includes:
A £10 million recovery fund to help councils with the immediate costs of making their areas safe, clear and clean again, which can be used, for example, to clear debris left strewn in streets and make immediate repairs to pavements and roads. It will also support councils who want to office council tax discounts or relief to victims.
A £20 million High Street Support Scheme - will be made available immediately, for the streets and areas where businesses were affected by the rioting. The money will help get business trading again and meet short term costs like reducing business rates, finance building repairs and encouraging customers back to the area. In addition, seriously damaged homes and business properties will have their liability for council tax or business rates removed.
Re-housing funding to meet the immediate costs of emergency accommodation for families who have been made homeless by the disturbances. The Department will meet these costs under established homelessness funding processes.