Britain inflamed: Will riots damage the economy? And is the economy to blame?

9th August 2011

Meanwhile a political row is brewing as to whether the riots can be blamed on government cuts with some MPs claming to do so would be excusing criminality.

The Guardian's Michael White has linked the economy to the riots in a political piece looking at the risks for David Cameron's premiership.

He writes: "If herd-like global financiers, watching 24/7 screens from their own holiday villas, decide that London is not a safe city in which to invest, work or own expensive property – that props up the capital's overheated housing market, then sterling, the FTSE index and sale of Treasury gilts might feel the kind of heat no fire brigade can extinguish.

And then there are next summer's Olympics : Aren't they being staged within this week's battle zone."

The Guardian also reports on the fears of British business about the impact of the riots.

The British Retail Consortium warns that many of the shops affected may never reopen, while other firms may rethink their investment plans for areas such as Tottenham and Wood Green.

"Longer term a proportion of these stores were struggling already. They will have to look at their future in the area – many will reopen but some won't, which will harm the areas' prospects.

"It's the opposite effect to what anyone there would want, assuming such acts were thought through beyond the level of free TVs and jewellery. No grievance, however genuine, is helped by burning down shops."

The BBC reports on international reaction with some papers blaming the economic crisis, at least in part.

It quotes Spain's El Pais saying: "The economic crisis cannot become the sole explanation for the violent outbreaks that are multiplying in Europe. Each case is different, but taken together they are bolstering the view that representative democracy is incapable of dealing peacefully with the growing unrest among citizens. It is a slippery slope that governments have to deal with, while scrupulously obeying the rule of law."

The Telegraph  reports that Carpetright boss, Lord Harris of Peckham, whose store was destroyed in Tottenham riot, has called on the Government to provide more jobs for young people.

He says: ""If you get someone working, they are less trouble. When you get a lot of children, and these were mostly children, who have nothing to do, who can't find jobs, their only way of living is probably thieving and getting money off [benefits]. I hope they are going to try and I hope they will try, after this, to do more to help young people of this country. I'm trying to do it by giving them a better education and I only hope that the Government actually find jobs available for these people."

But political arguments are growing. Here Conservative support and Home founder Tim Montgomerie attacks politicians on the left who it argues have excused the rioters. It has Labour London mayor candidate in its sights particularly.

He writes: "Mr Livingstone also said that the rioters "feel no-one at the top of society, in government or City Hall, cares about them or speaks for them." Is the man living on the same planet as the rest of us?"

Some commentators have blamed mobile phones for the way in which rioters have been coordinating their actions.

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