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Public Disorder — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:45 pm on 11th August 2011.

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Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP 1:45 pm, 11th August 2011

My Lords, coming, as I do, from a part of the United Kingdom that is well used to public disorder and riots, can I say that we were extremely shocked at what we have seen? I urge noble Lords not to take solace in reliance on water cannon or plastic baton rounds because they are limited to fixed-point disputes. This type of guerrilla rioting will not be dealt with by that means. Given what the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, touched on a moment ago, is it not the case that despite us being a sophisticated, advanced country more than 20 per cent of our population is basically illiterate and many thousands of young people have no skills? Those two things are component parts of the solution. Will the Government revisit the skills issue? A lady on television said that our problem was values. It is a combination of those things but the lack of skills and literacy are clearly important parts.