CORY DOCTOROW / 10:47 AM MON MAY 28, 2018
It's been eight years since the Conservative government of David Cameron declared its austerity programme, slashing transfer grants to local governments and putting private firms in charge of rooting out people who could be denied benefits on any technicality.
Eight years later, Peter Goodman writes in the New York Times, describing a bleak, Dickensian nation where the super rich from the finance sector enjoy the kind of luxury that we associate with Russian oligarchs, while blighted, abandoned cities sell their parks to developers to close their budget gaps, cutting the number of firefighters even as houses burn down because the pensioners living in them have lost their benefits, been cut off from electricity, and are relying on candlelight.
It's a UK where carers of disabled people are cut off from benefits because a private government contractor has accused them of taking a lover, whose children start going to bed before 7PM to save on heating bills, because you don't notice the cold so much when you're asleep.
It's a UK where Conservative politicians are unrepentant, insisting that the country -- whose super-wealthy have grown ever-richer, while enjoying some of the lowest taxation in the region, as well as kid-glove treatment by Britain's network of overseas tax-havens -- is simply "living within its means."
His department recently analyzed the 83 deaths that occurred in accidental house fires from 2007 to 2017. The majority of the victims — 51 people — lived alone and were alone at the time of the deadly fire. Nineteen of those 51 were in need of some form of home care.