11 August 2011
On the day of the parliamentary recall to debate the past week's urban rioting across England, Caroline Lucas, leader of The Green Party, said: "We reject and condemn the horrendous violence, arson and looting that we have seen on the streets of Britain.
"But we must seek to understand why this happened to prevent it being repeated.
"If we stop at denunciations and crackdowns, nothing will be learned about why sections of our own population feel they can riot, loot and treat their neighbours and communities so appallingly.
"The bigger picture has to be considered. Britain is deeply unequal.
"Last year, London's richest people were worth 273 times more than its poorest.
"Given the growing evidence, from Scarman onwards, that increasing inequality had a role to play in at least some of the rioting, the government must commit to an impact assessment of any further policies to establish if they will increase inequality.
Lucas concluded: "If individuals are defined as consumers not citizens, there is danger that those who cannot afford to consume feel they have no stake in their community and become more likely to turn against it.
"The Prime Minister has said this is 'Not about poverty but about culture.' But it is about both. It is about inequality and culture and how dangerous it is when you mix growing inequality with a culture which puts consumerism above citizenship."