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Chuka Umunna: 'Help entrepreneurial gangs set up businesses'

INVEST IN OUR YOUTH: Chuka Umunna

LABOUR MP Chuka Umunna says young people caught up in gangs should be helped to set up their own businesses.

The former shadow and business secretary said many teens caught up in a life of crime had “commercial and entrepreneurial instincts” that they invested in illegal activities.

Leading a House of Commons debate on gangs and serious violence today (March 3), Umunna said he believed better “enterprise teaching” in schools would ensure young people knew how to make money legitimately.

“A lot of the young people who get wrapped up in all of this ultimately have quite commercial and entrepreneurial instincts. But that energy they have is simply not channelled in the right way and the result is that they turn to criminality and highly illegitimate, terrible ways of doing things,” he said.

“Perhaps if many of our young people received enterprise teaching in our schools, and if they were provided with inspiration and more access to opportunities to set up their own business, do their own thing, and work for themselves in a way that delivers the goods and some money, perhaps we would be able to stop them taking a wrong turn.”

Umunna, the MP for Streatham in south London, said he would “like to see many of the kids from the Tulse Hill estate [in Brixton] going on to be the next Richard Branson”.

He also said it was wrong to blame rap music for violence.

“We live in a society that promotes and glamorises violence,” he said. “It is too easy to say that it is the fault of the creative industries,” he went on.

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