The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has said that the government's immediate priority in the aftermath of the recent rioting in some English cities "is to show that we can keep our streets safe".
But interviewed by Today presenter James Naughtie, Mr Clegg insisted that the recent disturbances should not interfere with the coalition's programme of cuts.
"Of course this is a massive challenge and it is incredibly unsettling for people," he said.
"But... I don't think it actually would help any of us if what we do in reaction to that is say, 'OK, we're going to stop the difficult job that we're doing as a country and as a government to wipe the slate clean for future generations.'
He added: "That isn't a recipe of success for the long term, and what we're trying to do as a government is, yes, take difficult decisions today for the long term benefit of future generations in years to come."
And Mr Clegg refused to be drawn on whether he agreed with David Cameron's comments that "there are pockets of our society that are not just broken but frankly sick".
The prime minister is expected to set out new measures in response to four nights of rioting in cities across England, during an emergency session of Parliament this morning. His address to MPs will follow another meeting of the Cobra emergency committee and talks with his Cabinet colleagues.
Elsewhere, special all-night court sittings have been held in London, Manchester and the West Midlands to process dozens of people accused of involvement in the riots.
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