In the past few days, the press has been presenting us with harsh headlines concerning the state of the economy and the likely impact of the cuts on our society. The picture looks grey. In the last three months of 2010 the UK economy contracted by 0.5% and the number of unemployed claiming job-seekers allowance for more than six months rose by 7,200 to reach 960,300, according to the Office for National Statistics. Consumer expectations and confidence about their future is at a 12 year low.
It has been estimated that as many as 60,000 households in Scotland might be hit by the cuts proposed by the Coalition Government. Many of those affected could risk loosing their homes if the proposed cap on housing benefits gets introduced in Scotland. Shelter Scotland, recently run a seminar on the effects of the proposed cuts with a view to help prevent homelessness. The Chartered Institute of Housing has stated its concerns over the proposed social housing reform stating that it might “stigmatize social housing tenants and weaken communities”.
In the meantime, David Cameron reaffirmed in Davos his ideological commitment to the cuts and George Osborne stated that despite the economy’s contraction, the programme of cuts would not be derailed.
How far does the situation need to escalate before the writing on the wall becomes clear?