Who remembers Austerity? Who could forget Austerity unless they were a child at the time?
David Camoron and George Osborne gave birth to the idea of Austerity after the Tories’ less than convincing election win in 2010 which resulted in a less than satisfactory coalition with the Lib Dems.
Under the banner of Austerity they made some of the most savage cuts to almost all Public Dervices that I can remember.
- Public libraries are funded by local governments to provide free services that enrich culture, information and education. The emergence of austerity and subsequent cuts to local government funding has caused library services to suffer – including the closure of almost 800 public libraries since the launch of austerity in 2010
- National museums in the United Kingdom are typically run and funded by the government. However, there are some museums which have separate agreements with local authorities meaning they receive financial support through government programmes.The extent of this funding has been greatly reduced since the beginning of austerity.
- Between 1998 and 2012 the number of children living in “relative poverty” in the UK had fallen by approximately 800,000 to a total of around 3.5 million. Following the introduction of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 the number of children in “relative poverty” increased, with the total by 2019 around 600,000 higher than it had been in 2012. During those seven years the number of children obtaining food from the food banks of The Trussell Trust more than tripled.
- Researchers have linked budget cuts and sanctions against benefit claimants to increasing use of food banks. In a twelve-month period from 2014 to 2015, over one million people in the United Kingdom had used a food bank, representing a “19% year-on-year increase in food bank use”. The use of food banks almost doubled between 2013 and 2017.
- When the coalition government came to power in 2010, capital investment in new affordable homes was cut by 60%, while government-imposed caps on local authority borrowing continued to restrict their ability to raise money to build new homes.
- The benefit cap, introduced via the Welfare Reform Act 2012, set a maximum level for the amount of state welfare benefits that could be paid to an individual household in any one year. The measure came into effect in 2013 with the figure initially set at £26,000 per year, close to the average income of a family in the UK at that time. The anticipated reduction in government expenditure as a result of the measure was £225 million by April 2015. The benefit cap initially affected approximately 12,000 households, mainly in high-rent areas of the UK such as London, but in 2016/17 the limit was reduced to £20,000 per annum (£23,000 in London) extending its effects to around 116,000 households across the UK.
- The Local Government Association has identified a decrease in UK Government funding of almost 60 per cent for local authorities in England and Wales between 2010 and 2020. The reduction in central government funding for county councils in England combined with an increasing demand for social care services has caused reductions in expenditure on other services such as public libraries, refuse collection, road maintenance and Sure Start, along with increases to council Tax rates and the introduction of additional charges for county council services. Local authority subsidies to bus services were reduced by almost half between 2010 and 2018.
- A 2012 article by Martin Knapp published in The BMJ‘s journal Evidence-Based Mental Health said that mental health problems could be attributed to a person’s financial situation. At that time 45% of those who were in debt had mental health problems, compared to 14% of those who were not in debt. In 2010 over 40% of benefit claimants in Britain had “mental and behavioural disorders” recorded as their primary health condition.
- Research funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and published in 2015 identified austerity as one of the factors responsible for a rise in suicide attempts and suicide deaths since 2008, particularly in regard to Jobcentre policies. The rate of increase in life expectancy in England nearly halved between 2010 and 2017, according to research by epidemiology professor Michael Marmot. He commented that it was “entirely possible” that austerity was the cause and said: “If we don’t spend appropriately on social care, if we don’t spend appropriately on health care, the quality of life will get worse for older people and maybe the length of life, too.
- Between 2010 and 2019 in England and Wales the number of police officers employed was reduced by approximately 20,000. At the same time the measured incidence of murder and robbery increased to their highest levels since the 2000s. Additionally, the number of Police Staff was also quietly slashed and more than 600 Police Stations and other Police Buidlings closed and sold off.
- There are approximately five million public sector workers in the UK. Between 2011 and 2013 there was a two-year pay freeze for all public sector workers earning an annual salary of £21,000 or more, which was expected to reduce public expenditure by £3.3 billion by 2014–15. In subsequent years a public sector pay cap resulted in annual public sector wage increases being effectively capped at 1% for 2013–2016,extended to 2020 in the 2015 budget.
- The National Health Service has all but been destroyed by them, and they allegedly REFUSE to even hold pay talks with the doctors.
- Austerity cuts aren’t just hitting public spending and civil service jobs, but also the Armed Forces. The RAF and the Navy have both seen 5,000 troops cut, while the army has lost 7,000 troops. However, they’re not finished yet. The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed it will cut troop numbers from 82,000 to 73,000 by 2025 — despite opposition from parts of the armed forces.
- And don’t even get me started on Brexit.
After the disastrous reign of Liz Truss and Kamikaze Kwarteng I cannot think of a single area where the United Kingdom has benefited from Tory policies and prtactices. Despite this, they have still managed to receive above-inflation pay rises thrmselves.
As mentioned in my previous post, never again can I bring myself to vote Conservative. I don’t suppose for one second that they will miss my vote, but it makes me feel better.