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R3 August Riots Poll

A public opinion poll on behalf of R3.

Date Published: 15 Aug 2011

Categories: Public and communities | Social | UK


Half the nation believes financial pressures contributed to recent riots

Nearly half of us (47%) believe debt and financial pressures contributed to the recent riots and looting in cities across England according to a poll commissioned by R3, the insolvency trade body. The vast majority of people - 92% - blame easy access to credit over the past few years for a sense of entitlement to the latest goods.

The results show that 29% of people believe it is harder to obey the law when personal finances are unstable.  But 96% believe that a person’s financial situation, including their level of debt, cannot be used as an excuse to break the law.

Louise Brittain, R3 Council Member comments:

“We have seen an explosion in personal debt over the past few years. More than a quarter of insolvencies are now caused by people living beyond their means and over 80% of bankruptcies are caused by consumer debt with the availability of credit playing a key role.  Added to this, household budgets have been squeezed as inflationary pressures take hold.     

“Sadly the damage caused by the riots will create further financial pressures.  The businesses affected will take heart from the public’s condemnation of the riots and creditors are likely to be supportive during this difficult period.”  

Younger people are more likely to agree that debt and financial pressures contributed to the recent riots, with 71% of 18-24 year olds believing so compared to 38% of people aged 65 or over.  Younger people are also more likely to say that it is harder to obey the law when finances are unstable: around half of 18-24 year olds agree (46%), compared to 24% of 45-64 year olds and 28% of people aged 65 and over.

Methodology: ComRes conducted an online survey of 2054 GB adults between the 12th and 14th August 2011. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules.

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