Policy Press

Austerity Bites 10 Years On

A Journey to the Sharp End of Cuts in the UK

By Mary O'Hara

Published

Sep 1, 2024

Page count

272 pages

ISBN

978-1447374527

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Sep 1, 2024

Page count

272 pages

ISBN

978-1447374534

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Austerity has proven to be more deadly than the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, over the last decade, the damage caused by austerity measures in the UK has had a long-lasting and profound effect on many lives. The first edition of Austerity Bites offered on-the-ground reportage of one of the most significantly regressive economic strategies of any post-war government. Over a year Mary O’Hara toured the UK to gauge the immediate impact – and expectations of people affected – and found many clinging to the hope that austerity cuts would not last long as the damage became increasingly apparent. Alas, this was not how things unfolded.

Instead, much of the Welfare State had its vital support systems systematically undermined The public sector, including the NHS, is now on its knees. Schools are buckling under multiple structural and budgetary pressures. Councils – even big ones – are going broke. Homelessness is rampant. Austerity has killed.

While Brexit, the pandemic, and war have no doubt impacted the economic health of the country, previous austerity cuts left the UK less prepared to weather such extraordinary events.

With new commentary, Austerity Bites 10 Years On assesses on the true scale of the damage these policies have inflicted on the country’s most vulnerable groups, public institutions and on the wider society. It reflects on where we have been, where we are now and what needs to happen next to undo the damage and avoid the same mistakes again.

Mary O’Hara is an award-winning journalist, author and producer specializing in social justice. She is the author of two books: The Shame Game: Overturning the toxic poverty narrative (2020) & Austerity Bites: A journey to the sharp end of cuts in the UK (2014) and has contributed to many others. She is founder of the multi-platform anti-poverty storytelling initiative, Project Twist-It and chair of The David Nobbs Memorial Trust. Mary is also a podcast and audiobook producer and a Fulbright Scholar. She is a three-time winner of the award for Best Foreign Columnist at the Southern California Journalism Awards.

Foreword to the 10th Anniversary Edition

Acknowledgements

A note on the 10th Anniversary Edition

Preface to the 10th Anniversary Edition

Introduction

Essay 1: Heat or Eat

Chapter 1: Money’s too tight to mention

Essay 2: All Pain, No Gain

Chapter 2: The Big Squeeze

Essay 3: Much Ado About Something

Chapter 3: Welcome to 'Wondaland'

Essay 4: Shame on You

Chapter 4: Work Maketh the Person

Essay 5: The Price of Precarity

Chapter 5: All Work and No Pay

Essay 6: Death by a Thousand Cuts

Chapter 6: Bearing the Brunt

Essay 7: There is Nothing to Fear but Austerity Itself.

Chapter 7: A Life Lived in Fear is a Life Half Lived

Conclusion

Afterword to the 2024 Edition

Notes

Index