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Life on a low income in austere times

Pemberton, S.; Sutton, E.; Fahmy, E.; Bell, K.

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S. Pemberton

E. Sutton

E. Fahmy

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Karen Bell
Senior Lecturer Environmental Management


Following the ‘credit crunch’ 2007-2008, the UK entered the deepest recessionary conditions in living memory. As the liquidity from the financial services sector came to an abrupt halt, the investment ‘life blood’ of the economy in short supply, numerous companies, including long established high street businesses, ceased trading and consequently, unemployment rates rose to the highest levels since the 1980s. After the initial ‘bailout’ of the banking sector, political attention turned to the growing public deficit and the spectre of public sector austerity came to dominate the policy agenda. This agenda swiftly moved from how best to regulate the financial services industry to the question of the ‘welfare bill’ and the growing problem of ‘worklessness’. From this point, particularly as the Universal Credit Scheme passed through parliament and came to be implemented in various phases, much was said in political and policy debates about the lives of the ‘poor’ and many ‘common sense’ assumptions informed these discussions. However as is often the case, omitted from these discussions were the voices of those people living of low income.
To redress this imbalance, the report aims to document the reality of life on a low income during this period, by affording primacy to the ‘voices’ of those living in poverty.


Pemberton, S., Sutton, E., Fahmy, E., & Bell, K. (2014). Life on a low income in austere times

Report Type Project Report
Publication Date Mar 1, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords poverty, austerity, community, inequality
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