Inequality and this summer's riots

Inequality has been cited as one of the issues that may have sparked the riots that occurred in England this summer. This is according to 71 per cent of the 11- to 18-year-olds who took part in a forum by HeadsUp, which invited young people to join the debate lasting from 26 September to 14 October and discuss the matter of equality in the UK.

Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of respondents thought inequality was mostly to blame, while 40 per cent said they felt the matter was part of the reason why the violence broke out across the country.

One youngster said: "Maybe it was because the government were not really taking care of them. They have got nothing left, so they have got nothing to lose."

These views echo those expressed by Professor Christine Horrocks from the University of Bradford, chair of the Society’s Psychology of Women Section in August. She said:

“What has been said, and is undeniable, is that many of the young people out on the streets, and their families, have life chances which have been severely limited by successive government policies that have consistently disadvantaged those already in need. This does not excuse or justify unbridled criminality but given that it is, in general, the young of our society engaged in such behaviour serious questions emerge around the world they occupy and how such actions came about.”

The October issue of our monthly magazine The Psychologist has a special feature looking at the summer's riots.