Riots in London cost millions

Firefighters tackle a blaze at a business in Clapham Junction, South London on Aug. 8, 2011.

JEREMY HOBSON: British lawmakers will be called back from their summer vacations this week for an emergency session of parliament. This follows three days of rioting in London. Some say the riots are about government spending cuts -- but others dispute that.

As Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports from London.


STEPHEN BEARD: The rioting was originally triggered by the shooting of a young black man in North London last week. A peaceful peace-march over the weekend turned into violence. Since then, hundreds of youths have stripped shops of their contents and torched dozens of cars. Several large buildings, including a Sony warehouse have been set on fire. Some demonstrators have attributed the unrest to rising youth unemployment, and the public spending cuts which have closed down inner-city recreational centers. But politicians and police blame theft and vandalism.

Adrian Mills has had his restaurant ransacked.

ADRIAN MILLS: Our restaurant there, in the last 10 minutes, has had a group of guys smash their way in, rifle the till, steal every bottle of alcohol you can imagine, smashing up the tables and everything that's there within the restaurant.

Insurers have been unable, so far, to put a precise figure on the damage the rioting has caused. But it's likely to run into the tens of millions of dollars.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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