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Project April 11, 2013

Britain: Charting the Impact of Austerity


Britain's government is engaged in the steepest deficit reduction of modern times. People are losing, or will soon lose, benefits in the biggest shakeup in the shape and scope of Britain's welfare state since its foundation more than 60 years ago. A team of reporters from the Financial Times tracks the cuts and their impact in this comprehensive multimedia project.

The government's radical reform program, aimed at reducing one of the largest fiscal deficits among industrialized nations by moving people off the benefit rolls and into work, is taking £19 billion ($29 billion) a year out of working-age social security between now and 2015.

The ruling Conservative Party says the welfare cuts will spur the private sector to greater dynamism on the back of an expanded labor force. But as the government considers further deep welfare cuts, the FT's research underlines the potential risks to economic regeneration and private sector business prospects in poorer areas where the local population faces the loss of a large slice of purchasing power.