UK Riots: Understanding And Tackling The Root Causes Of These Riots
The Centre for Policy Studies in this short piece articulates the underlying causes of the trouble and suggests solutions to tackle them.
In 2009, the Centre for Policy Studies released the book Wasted: the betrayal of white working class and black Caribbean boys by Harriet Sergeant.
Having spent years talking to gangs, youth club leaders, teachers, community leaders and charities, Harriet found:
- A failure for white working class and black Caribbean boys to make the transition to manhood was leaving them dangerously disengaged from society.
- This disengagement resulted in both an increase in violent incidents and youth disorder.
- Three key areas of catastrophe helped produce this disengagement:
- A lack of male role models in the home and classroom
- A failure of the education system, particularly in basic literacy skills
- Poor incentives in the job market due to welfare payments and immigration
- The main way of escaping this conveyor belt is through improvements in the education system:
- Teaching individuals to read effectively
- Restoring discipline
- A greater role for competitive sports
Harriet's recent research into girl gangs for a forthcoming Centre for Policy Studies report also sheds light on the disturbing number of girl-related violence over the last few days.
In this week’s Spectator, Harriet uses her inside-knowledge to explain how these factors have culminated in the rioting observed this week. In particular, she focuses on evidence of clear failures of government policy over the last 15 years:
· 63 per cent of white working-class boys and just over half of black Caribbean boys at the age of 14 have a reading age of seven or below.
· Of the 1.8 million rise in employment over the Labour years, 99 per cent went to immigrants.
· Young men have tried to get jobs, only to find they were better off sticking with benefits.
· Since 1997, a single mother of two children has seen her benefits increase by a staggering 85 per cent.
Without the ability to read, or incentives to get jobs, many young boys are turning to crime and girls to having children.
Fundamental reform of our schools and social policy is required to reverse these trends.
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