Anniversary of 2011 UK riots: Repeat of violence is ‘inevitable’

With one in five British young people currently unemployed, the situation in the UK is even worse than it was five years ago - and "more trouble" is likely on the way, as RT correspondent Sara Firth discovered.

Two years after riots swept through the UK, a repeat of the violence is inevitable, according to Polly Courtney - an author who spoke to young people across London for her new book entitled "Feral Youth."

“The motivation behind the riots was complex, but for Polly, basic economics plays the key part,” says Firth, who met with the author in London.

Courtney says that although charities have done an incredible job helping young people, more riots are only a matter of time unless there is a significant shift in government priorities and spending.

“The rich-poor divide is so extreme at the moment and the poor are seeing that and they are seeing that they are being left behind - that was a phrase I heard in my research a lot. I don’t think the problems have gone away and if they haven’t gone away we’re going to see more trouble until these things start to get resolved,” she told RT.

Barbara Rayment, director of counseling service Youth Access, believes the government must act in order to reverse the situation.

“Benefit cuts, poor access to housing and job opportunities, coupled with ongoing difficulties on police relations and a lack of investment in youth services demonstrate the lack of any empathic government policy that addresses young people’s concerns,” Rayment told ITN.

British riot police arrive in front of a burning building in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011 (AFP Photo / Carl de Souza)

Her thoughts were echoed by Lee Jasper, a social activist who believes that things have actually gotten worse for young people since the August 2011 riots.

“All the conditions that gave rise to 2011 disturbances have been simply exacerbated - made more acute - and there is a bigger group of people now affected. The likelihood of a repetition of the kind of scenes we saw in 2011 is almost inevitable,” Jasper told RT.

Charlie, a young Brit who spent six months in prison for taking part in the riots, feels deep regret for what he did. Charlie is still unemployed and will now find it even harder to get a job, since he possesses a criminal record. He believes that the government must listen to what young people have to say and take action to help them.

“I think they need to have our side and listen to us more because we’re living the life. We’re in the slums. They need to listen to us - not necessarily what we want but what we need and what might help us,” he said.

Almost one million young Brits are currently without a job - and the number of youths enrolling in higher education is decreasing. The University and College Admission Service (UCAS) says applications from English students are at their lowest in four years - partly as a result of a tuition hike which tripled university fees in 2012. Scottish students who attend university in Scotland do not have to pay tuition fees.

Looters rampage through a convenience store in Hackney, east London August 8, 2011 (Reuters)