This timely book by award-winning journalist Mary O’Hara chronicles the true impact of austerity on people at the sharp end, based on her ‘real-time’ 12-month journey around the country just as the most radical reforms were being rolled out in 2012 and 2013.
After coming to power in May 2010, the Coalition government in the United Kingdom embarked on a drastic programme of cuts to public spending and introduced a raft of austerity measures that had profoundly damaging effects on much of the population.
Drawing on hundreds of hours of compelling first-person interviews, with a broad spectrum of people ranging from homeless teenagers, older job-seekers, pensioners, charity workers, employment advisers and youth workers, as well as an extensive body of research and reports, the book explores the grim reality of living under the biggest shakeup of the welfare state in 60 years.
A must-read book, Austerity Bites seeks to dispel any notion that “we are all in this together” and offers an alternative to the dominant and simplistic narrative that we inhabit a country of “skivers versus strivers."
"Travelling around the country interviewing people allowed Mary O’Hara to harness first-hand accounts of the fallout of cuts in the UK. Austerity Bites brings together many poignant stories of people affected by the first impact of the coalition government's choice to impose social austerity on Britain."
Danny Dorling, University of Oxford
“Mary O'Hara’s mission is to give voice to those experiencing hardship or injustice who are rarely heard. She travelled the UK for a year to bear witness to the effects of Austerity Britain and we should all pay attention to the result.”
Janine Gibson, Editor in Chief, Guardian US