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Youth unemployment led to riots, says Carpetright CEO

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9th Aug 2011
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The chief executive of Carpetright, one of the stores destroyed in the Tottenham riots on Saturday night, has called on the coalition government to do more to create jobs for young people.

Lord Harris of Peckham told the Daily Telegraph that he believed part of the reason behind the violence, which started in London but has now spread to Birmingham and Liverpool, was youth unemployment.   “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],” he said.   In the three months to May, there were 917,000 unemployed 16-to-24 year olds, a rate of just under 20%, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.   When asked if he felt the government had done enough to tackle the issue, Lord Harris replied: “I hope they are going to try and I hope they will try, and after this, to do more to help young people in 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.”   As one of the government’s biggest supporters of city academies and one of the first businessmen to provide Prime Minister David Cameron with financial backing, Lord Harris criticism is likely to come as a blow.      

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