Small retailers hit in future by riots such as those that took place in the summer of 2011 may lose out on compensation if their turnover is too high, the Association of Convenience Stores has warned.

The government is proposing to impose a cap of less than £2m turnover for businesses to be eligible for compensation as part of plans to modernise the Riot Damages Act, which dates back to 1886.

In its response to a government consultation on the proposal, the ACS urged the government to consider businesses of all sizes for compensation. “During the last riots in 2011, many businesses were significantly damaged and were only able to re-open with the help of compensation through the Riot Damages Act.

“We agree that the Act requires reform, but strongly believe that all businesses should be considered for compensation,” said ACS boss James Lowman. 

“The exclusion of businesses with over £2m turnover would mean that many of our members with two or three shops or even a single forecourt site would be ineligible for compensation, due to the high turnover nature of their business. These were precisely the types of business that were attacked during the riots.

“We would also like to seek clarity on how the turnover for a business would be clarified for franchisee/symbol group businesses in the convenience sector [as] 40% of small business[es] are part of larger ‘symbol’ groups.”

In the immediate aftermath of the 2011 riots the government set up a £20m scheme to compensate retailers hit by the unrest, which was estimated to have cost the UK taxpayer a total of £300m.