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Riot factors revealed in new report

Poor parenting, confidence in policing and materialism were all major factors that led to the riots last summer, a new report from the Riots, Communities and Victims panel has suggested.

Commissioned last summer, the report recommends offering offenders leaving prison more support and creating a jobs guarantee for young people who have been out of work for two years.

The panel believes that excessive materialism also contributed to the disorder, and called for advertising to protect children from marketing that may put pressure on them to own the latest gadgets or designer gear.

For schools, they suggest that financial penalties could be levied if pupils do not attain expected literacy levels by a certain age. The report reads: “Every child should be able to read and write to an age-appropriate standard by the time they leave primary and then secondary school. If they cannot, the school should face a financial penalty equivalent to the cost of funding remedial support to take the child to the appropriate standard.”

Darra Singh, the panel’s chairman, said: “We must give everyone a stake in society. There are people ‘bumping along the bottom’, unable to change their lives. When people don’t feel they have a reason to stay out of trouble, the consequences for communities can be devastating - as we saw last August.”

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “Just as the panel has established that there was no single cause of the riots, it is clear that there can be no single solution. But many of the recommendations in the report chime with this Government's clear ambition to give power back to communities, reform and join up public services and extend opportunities for young people.”

However, the Family and Parenting Institute warned against placing total responsibility for the riots on parents. CEO Dr Katherine Rake said: “In the immediate aftermath of the riots, an overly simplistic view took hold that bad parenting was predominately to blame and that a known group of 120,000 'most troubled families' were responsible.

“We hope the report recognises the pressures thatUKfamilies are under. Parenting does not take place in a vacuum. Stretched family finances, the commercialisation ofUKchildhood, and on-going work/life balance challenges prevent people from being the kind of parents that they really want to be.

“We may be quick to hold parents responsible for the failings of their children but we also need to acknowledge the critical role played by society and our communities.”

To view the report, visit

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Image c. Chris Brown 


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