By Steve Doughty and Charlotte Gill
Two out of three Britons back the idea of compulsory community service for young people, a poll has found.
A civic programme would find useful work for millions who would otherwise face mass unemployment in a deepening recession, many believe.
The survey also uncovered widespread fears that the energies and talents of jobless teenagers and twenty-somethings need to be harnessed to avoid the danger of rioting and unrest.
A poll found two out of three Britons back the idea of compulsory community service for young people
A senior police chief has already admitted that officers are preparing for a ‘summer of rage’ as victims of the credit crunch take to the streets to demonstrate against banks.
Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads Scotland Yard’s public order unit, said bonus-paying banks had become ‘viable targets’. He added: ‘Suddenly there is the opportunity for people to mass protest.’
The poll was conducted by Prospect magazine to gauge support for a plan backed by influential Labour MP Frank Field for a ‘national citizenship programme’.
Under the scheme, everyone would have to spend a year between the ages of 16 and 25 in low-paid community work, either in schools, children’s centres and residential homes or on housing or parks projects.
The poll, carried out by YouGov among 2,270 people, found 64 per cent supported the compulsory citizenship work idea.
Among those aged between 18 and 30, the scheme still had the support of 52 per cent.
More than a third feared riots similar to those experienced by Greece in December.
And nearly three quarters agreed with the statement that there will be mass unemployment ‘for many years to come’.