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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

camfinger.jpg Broken Britain: an update

During the 2010 general election campaign David Cameron pledged to fix the UK, a country he described as broken. How did he – and his party – get on?

When the Labour party left office in 2010, public satisfaction with the NHS was running at records levels. The party had also lifted millions of children and pensioners out of poverty, and crime fell for each year they were in power. There was still a lot more work government could do to make people’s lives better however, and voters decided to turn to David Cameron to sort it out. He had promised to fix what he called ‘Broken Britain’ and the Tories healing elixir went by the name of austerity. This had the whiff of a dig-for-victory Britain with everyone tightening their belts to ensure a sunnier future. In reality it meant slashing billions from budgets with the biggest losers being those most in need of help.

In 2019 not a day goes by without more red warning signs blinking into life on the nation’s dashboard.

The 8% cuts to school funding since 2010 has resulted in freezing cold classrooms and staff having to clean toilets. More than 1,000 schools are turning to crowdfunding websites to raise money, with many appealing for basic supplies such as pencils and textbooks.

Councils are having to make do with a fifth less than they did in 2010 which has resulted in the closures of parks, libraries, swimming pools and Sure Start centres. Since 2010 adult social care spending in England has shrunk by £7bn, which equates to around 1.4 million adults in the UK failing to get basic help with things such as washing, dressing and eating.

Figures released in March showed that Britain – the fifth richest country in the world – has more than four million children living below the poverty line. That’s one in three.

Research last month found the lowest level of public satisfaction with the NHS and the highest ever level of dissatisfaction with GP services. In Theresa May’s six years as home secretary police numbers fell by 20,000. She insisted forces could still cut crime by ‘working smarter’. Crime however, particularly knife crime, is on the rise. London has lost at least 100 youth centres since 2010.

Homelessness has risen year on year since the Tories have been in power and according to Shelter one in 200 people don’t have a home to call their own.

On becoming Prime Minister in 2010 Cameron said: ‘Keeping people safe is the first duty of government.’ If you rely on the NHS or council services, or are the victim of crime, or are bothered about the 600 people who died on the streets in 2017, those words must ring very hollow today.