How bad is the UK's austerity policy

Austerity in Great Britain - British libraries suffered for a long time - that could now change

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The UK's austerity policies in recent years have hit public libraries particularly hard. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised an end to the cuts. Does that also apply to the libraries?

They saved where they could: When the first conservative-liberal coalition government led by David Cameron introduced a rigid austerity policy, the municipalities and cities bore the brunt of the cuts.

Opportunistic selection of victims

In the municipalities, budgets that aroused little protest from the population were cut particularly ruthlessly. Day nurseries, youth centers, swimming pools have been closed - and libraries.

Since 2010, the cuts have been more than a fifth. Underprivileged communities were particularly hard hit because of the distribution key.

The death of the libraries

800 libraries were closed, the budget fell by a third and the workforce by 40 percent. Numerous libraries remained open, but were only looked after by volunteers.

This deforestation also resulted in a loss of public space, as libraries also offer hospitality for senior citizens' meetings, events for young mothers with their babies, and language classes for immigrants. In addition, functioning libraries provide workplaces with internet access. For example, to fill out official forms.

Coarse-meshed social network

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, complained in an interview that British society was developing in the wrong direction. He pointed to the increasing number of homeless people and the increasing use of soup kitchens.

These are also communal tasks. But the cities and municipalities ultimately had no choice. The social network became broader meshed. They had to serve a budget item by name: home care, which is in poor shape.

Elderly people are too often admitted to the hospital because there are too few resources for home care, which in turn blows up the healthcare system.

Where does the promise keep?

In the election campaign, both Labor and the victorious Tories had promised an end to "austerity," the austerity policy. For the now almost all-powerful Boris Johnson, this is a political imperative.

His Conservative Party is now well represented in the impoverished and neglected constituencies of the north of England, in the former home countries of Labor. Johnson has already promised that he will use the big trowel to set up new rail lines and bus connections in the north.

That is believable. But skepticism seems appropriate as to whether this generosity will also extend to cultural institutions such as libraries in the future. Johnson is concerned with his new constituents, and they hardly mention libraries.

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  • Comment from Hans Klein (HansKlein)
    As long as a pound for armaments and wars, spent as murder in distant countries or hidden by tax fraudsters abroad or "avoided" domestically through clever "tax planning", i.e. stolen - as long as there is not too little money for such meaningful, future-securing tasks, but only corrupt politicians who divert this money into the pockets of the few. Especially in times of the Internet, we need libraries that have known for thousands of years how to organize knowledge!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from antigone kunz (antigonekunz)
    "This deforestation also resulted in a loss of public space, as libraries also offer hospitality for senior citizens' meetings, events for young mothers with their babies, and language classes for immigrants." Public space, public money, functioning public institutions ... all are at risk. Because wherever we look, everything that can be privatized should, more precisely, be given to investors. Rampant capitalism really only leaves scorched earth.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment

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