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Everyday insecurity: Life at the end of the welfare state

Interim Briefing

Welfare reform and public sector cuts are adding significant pressure to a system already buckling under the strain of growing demand and underfunding. This is leading to unsustainable human, social and economic costs.

For the past 18 months the new economics foundation (nef) has been working with people in some of the most deprived communities in Birmingham and Haringey to
explore their experiences of the government’s austerity measures and its ambitions for building a ‘Big Society’.

Through more than fifty interviews with local people and organisations, and through peer research and capacity building workshops, we have been exploring:

• How people are experiencing the cumulative impact of welfare reform and public sector cuts in a time of recession;
• What the ‘Big Society’ means for people and communities in the context of this new austerity;
• What alternative strategies might do more to improve people’s quality of life and their access to support and well-being.