New York Times article on austerity in Britain. It makes somber reading for Tory voters
Photograph from the New York Times website
The key points:
After 8 years of austerity, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the US, with a shrinking welfare state and greater poverty.
A monumental shift has occurred has occurred in British life. Crime rates, drug addition, infant mortality, childhood poverty and homelessness are on the increase, i.e. a deteriorating quality of life.
“It [austerity] has refashioned British society, making it less like the rest of Western Europe, with its generous social safety nets and egalitarian ethos, and more like the United States, where millions lack health care and job loss can set off a precipitous plunge in fortunes.”
Austerity is like setting your house on fire and then revelling in the community spirit as neighbours come running to help extinguish the blaze.
Britain has not engaged in Greek austerity, but it has instead done it slowly where the cumulative toll has been substantial.
Local government has suffered as there has been a 20% cut in revenue since 2010, after adding taxes they collect, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Nationally, spending on police forces has dropped 17% since 2010. The number of police officers has dropped by 14%, according to the Institute for Government. Spending on road maintenance has shrunk more than 25%, while support for libraries has fallen by nearly 33%.
The court system has eliminated nearly a third of its staff. Spending on prisons has plunged more than 20% with violent assaults on prison officers more than doubling.
The number of elderly people receiving state care - that enables them to remain in their homes - has fallen by roughly 25%.
While unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975, most wages remain lower than a decade ago when accounting for rising prices.
In Liverpool, more than a quarter of Liverpool’s population of 460,000 people are officially poor. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has closed five stations and reduced the number of firefighters from 1000 to 620. 83 deaths have occurred in accidental house fires from 2007 to 2017. 51 of those victims lived alone at the time of the fire. 19 of the 51 were in need of some form of home care. The Chief Fire Officer said people losing cash benefits are falling behind on their electricity bills, resorting to candles for light – a major fire risk. Mental health services have been cut so fewer staff are visiting people prone to hoarding, another fire risk.
There are some interesting case studies in the article, showing the personal impact.
Westminster politicians are making local government the villains.
As we all knew and suspected. Quite sad. All political choices. The full report can be found by clicking here.