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UK's deputy PM pledges new help for youth

UK's deputy PM pledges new help for youth

Young people who looted stores as riots erupted across England last month were let down by a society that didn't allow them to have faith in their own futures, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Wednesday.
Addressing an annual rally of his Liberal Democrat party, the junior partner in Britain's coalition government, Clegg pledged new help for disadvantaged youths in hopes of diverting them from criminality.
Arson, disorder and theft spread through London and other major English cities over four nights in August. Five people were killed and scores of stores were looted, with youths blamed for inciting and carrying out much of the damage.
"Nobody could fail to be horrified by what we saw during the riots. These weren't organized campaigns for change. They were outbursts of nihilism and greed," Clegg said in a speech closing his party's four-day rally.
Prime Minister David Cameron has blamed the disorder on Britain's "moral collapse," and the Conservative-Party led government has vowed to tackle gang culture and offer intensive help to the country's 120,000 most troubled families.
Clegg said the riots had convinced him Britain must work more to help poor youngsters succeed in education.
"Too many of these young people had simply fallen through the cracks. Not just this summer but many summers ago when they lost touch with their own future," Clegg told the conference in the central England city of Birmingham.
"So often the people who have gone off the rails are the ones who were struggling years earlier," he said.
Clegg announced that Britain will spend 50 million pounds ($78 million) to fund two-week summer schools to help struggling children improve their English and math as they move from junior schools to high schools at the age of 11.
"We know this is a time when too many children lose their way," Clegg said. "This is (an) ... investment to keep them all on the right path."
Britain's justice ministry said last week that the latest figures, which detail court appearances up to Sept. 12, show that 1,715 people have been charged with offenses connected to the riots _ 364 of whom are aged under 16.
A total of 176 people have been jailed so far, including 26 juveniles.
"The rioters are not the face of Britain's young people. The vast majority of our young people are good, decent and doing the best they can," Clegg said.


Updated : 2021-10-27 22:15 GMT+08:00