LONDON, Aug. 11 (UPI) — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Thursday told the House of Commons four days of violence were not about “politics or protest.”
“What we have seen on the streets of London and in other cities across our country is completely unacceptable and I am sure the whole House will join me in condemning it,” Cameron said. “Keeping people safe is the first duty of government. The whole country has been shocked by the most appalling scenes of people looting, violence, vandalizing and thieving. It is criminality pure and simple.”
He added, “We have seen houses, offices and shops raided and torched, police officers assaulted and fire crews attacked as they try to put out fires, people robbing others while they lie injured and bleeding in the street and even three innocent people being deliberately run over and killed in Birmingham. …
“We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets. And we will do whatever it takes to restore law and order and to rebuild our communities.
“The young people stealing flat screen televisions and burning shops was not about politics or protest, it was about theft. The police faced lawbreaking on the streets on a scale not seen for decades.”
On the economic front, Cameron said the government was setting up “a new 20 million-pound (more than $32.4 million) high street support scheme to help affected businesses get back up and running quickly. And to minimize the costs facing businesses, the government will enable local authorities to grant business rate relief, by funding at least three-quarters of their costs. We will defer tax payments for businesses in greatest need. …
“And for houses and businesses that have been the most badly damaged we have instructed the valuation office to immediately stop liability for council tax and business rates.”
Cameron said the government “will weed out unnecessary planning regulations to ensure that businesses can get back on their feet and feel secure as quickly as possible.”
The prime minister also gave a nod to how the rest of the world is viewing Britain only a year before the Summer Olympics.
“We need to show the world, which has looked on appalled, that the perpetrators of the violence we have seen on our streets are not in any way representative of our country nor of our young people,” he said. “We need to show them that we will address our broken society and restore a stronger sense of morality and responsibility in every town, in every street and in every estate.
“And a year away from the Olympics, we need to show them the Britain that doesn’t destroy, but that builds; that doesn’t give up but stands up; that doesn’t look back, but always forwards.”