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Just Managing?

Mark O'Brien
Paul Kyprianou


Texte intégral

1The era of ‘austerity’ that followed the UK banking collapse of 2008 has seen a savage and sustained assault on the security and well-being of the working poor. Historically unprecedented cuts to government spending across a swathe of essential services, combined with radical changes to the benefits system, have hit very hard at the least well-off in society.

2Throughout this period, ministers have peddled platitudes about having to make ‘hard choices’ in order to ‘balance the budget’ and ‘reduce the debt’. These ministers’ ‘hard choices’, of course, did not involve that between ‘eating or heating’; and the budgets that had to be balanced were not those of families surviving on low incomes. In fact, as weekly budgets have spiralled out of control, those families have been forced into levels of debt that are impossible to manage.

3The electorate was told that government austerity policies would at least be ‘fair’, with the wealthiest sacrificing the most in percentage terms, and the poorest the least. Actually, the poor have sacrificed everything whilst the richest in society have enjoyed entrenchments of their privilege and wealth.

4Whilst these political language games have gone on in the rarefied world of Westminster, it has been the grind of life on low and deteriorating incomes that has been the reality for millions of families. However, media commentaries and the establishment political cacophony have drowned out the voices of the very people the debate is about.

5In this book, thirty working families who have suffered the brunt of austerity talk about their experience of struggling to hold down jobs, maintain decent homes, stay healthy and achieve a degree of happiness for themselves and their children.

6Here, these ‘just managing’ families of austerity Britain now have their turn to speak.


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