Poverty played major role in English riots
Published 13/08/2011 | 05:00
IT is true that the recent riots in Britain cannot be completely blamed on poverty and deprivation. Mindless thuggery and opportunistic thieving played their part as well. However, I do not accept that the causes of the riots are the UK welfare state and single parenthood.
Firstly, unemployment benefit in the UK is a fraction of the weekly minimum wage, which itself is very difficult to live on. Thus, the idea that the dole is an attractive option for young people is hard to swallow. Indeed, there are plenty of EU countries with more advanced levels of social protection than the UK, such as Sweden and Denmark, and those countries do not seem to suffer the same degree of antisocial behaviour.
Secondly, though it seems that children from single-parent families are more susceptible to educational and emotional problems, single-parenting itself might not be the cause. Single parents are more likely to suffer from certain disadvantages, such as low income, poor education and a lack of a decent family support network. These risk factors may account for the difficulties that many children of single parents face.