R3’s survey, conducted online by ComRes, showed that 47% of people believe money worries played a part in the riots which spread from north London to cities in the west country and the north west.
The vast majority of people – 92 per cent - blame easy access to credit over the past few years for a sense of entitlement to the latest goods.
Some 96 per cent of people, the poll shows, believe that a person’s financial situation including their level of debt cannot be used as an excuse to break the law.
R3 council member Louise Brittain said: “We have seen an explosion in personal debt over the past few years. More than a quarter of insolvencies are now caused by people living beyond their means and over 80 per cent of bankruptcies are caused by consumer debt with the availability of credit playing a key role.
“Added to this, household budgets have been squeezed as inflationary pressures take hold.”
For the poll, ComRes surveyed 2,054 British adults online between August 12 and August 14. ComRes said the data was weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults.
The survey showed that younger people are more likely to agree that debt and financial pressures contributed to the recent riots, with 71 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds believing so, compared to 38 per cent of people aged 65 or over.
Younger people are also more likely to say that it is harder to obey the law when finances are unstable: around half of 18 to 24 year olds agree (46 per cent), compared to 24 per cent of 45 to 64 year olds, and 28 per cent of people aged 65 and over.
Brittain added: “Sadly the damage caused by the riots will create further financial pressures. The businesses affected will take heart from the public’s condemnation of the riots and creditors are likely to be supportive during this difficult period.”