This may sound incredibly stupid but what exactly is austerity?



Not stupid in the slightest, especially if you aren’t from the UK.

Austerity is the fancy name given to David Cameron’s policy of cutting funding from the most vulnerable in British society in an attempt to fix the deficit that the rich created. 

Austerity entails cutting disability benefits, job seeker’s allowance, child benefits, pensions and mental health funding amongst many other things. It also includes a new bizarre set of requirements for you to even be considered for these now greatly reduces benefits. For example, if the government decides you aren’t looking hard enough for a job your benefits will be cut entirely, people have starved to death because of this

Austerity accompanies the Bedroom Tax in which people with “too many” bedrooms in their council houses have to pay extra tax, this has made disabled people homeless. 

Another aspect of austerity is the closing down of GP offices and the implementation of a scandalous ‘10 minute’ limit to doctor’s appointments. Whereby if you go over 10 minutes when talking to your doctor they have to cut you off and send you on your way, even if you were about to tell them something that could help them diagnose and treat you for something serious. Doctor’s have protested this legislation and have said that the new system is failing patients.

Austerity also includes selling council houses cheaply to tenants so that the government doesn’t have to pay for their upkeep, this sounds good in practice (my own mother benefitted from this scheme by buying our council house) but in the longterm it has created a shortage of council houses. Leaving many in hostels or on the street. (My best friend had to declare herself homeless to be given a council house for her and her baby and it included a compulsory week stay at a hostel, my heavily pregnant best friend asked me to stay with her and trust me you would rather be on the street than in a government hostel in the UK. The sheets were blood and shit stained, there were used needles on the floor, the plumbing did not work. Those places are inhumane.) Having to put people in this kind temporary housing is costing taxpayers £2bn a year. 

As a result of Austerity thousands of rape crisis shelters, women’s shelters, homeless shelters and community areas have been closed down. 3.5 million children now live below the poverty line and an expected 1 million people will join those currently relying on food banks to survive. The Royal Mail was sold to a private company but the Conservatives botched it so it ended up costing taxpayers 1 billion pounds. Some areas of the NHS have also been sold leaving people in poor care in hospitals and depriving some of treatment. 

Meanwhile, the middle and upper middle classes continue to get tax breaks, banker’s continue receiving their bonuses and tax evasion is left ignored despite it being one of the largest strains to the public purse. 

And even after all that, UK national debt is increasing all the time: