University study labels Austerity as ‘Social Murder’

Philip Hammond Budget 2018
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A study by The University of Lancaster on the effects of austerity in the social security system has labelled the policy as ‘social murder’. While this is of no surprise to many, it does add weight to the growing calls to end cuts to the benefit system.

The research titled:“‘Violent proletarianisation: social murder, the reserve army of labour and social security ‘austerity’ in Britain,” was published in the journal; Critical Social Policy. The research was carried out by staff and students in the University’s Sociology Department.

The article refers to a process they call; “violent proletarianisation.” The gist of this is that, austerity is aimed at forcing people to do paid work, rather than relying on state help such as benefits. This is something the current government are always pushing when promoting Universal Credit.

All too often the line; “lowest employment in history”, spouted by a government minister, it was former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey’s favourite soundbite.

What they fail to address is what is called “the hidden unemployed”. This is the millions of people who are classed as unfit to work due to sickness or disability. If they were to be included in statistics like some other countries, the rate of unemployment would rise to approximately 7.5%.

Let us not forget too that to be classed as employed by the government you only need to do 1 hour every TWO weeks. There’s cooking the books and there’s torching them. You can decide which in this case.

Tweaking doesn’t work

in the article that was published Dr Grover says;

“To address violent proletarianisation what is required is not the tweaking of existing policies but fundamental change that removes the economic need for people to work for the lowest wages that employers can get away with paying,”

Dr Grover, Violent proletarianisation, journal of Critical Social Policy 19th December 2018

Some example that are cited in the article are;

  • an additional six suicides for every 10,000 work capability assessments done;
  • increasing number of people Britain dying of malnutrition
  • increasing numbers of homeless people dying on the streets or in hostel

Regarding the additional suicides, a study by Foodbank Charity, The Trussell Trust found that 46% of new Universal Credit claimants had developed a new Mental Health condition. Add to the fact that a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is extremely stressful and often wrong in the first instance, it’s not hard to see why suicides in benefit claimants have risen.

Homelessness is a crisis that is only getting worse across the UK and Northern Ireland, Just last week, Housing Minister, James Brokenshire admitted that his party’s policies may have played a part in the rise in rough sleepers. Before parliament broke up for Christmas, we heard that a man had died opposite the Houses of Parliament. The Media were too concerned about what Jeremy Corbyn did or didn’t say, to give it the coverage it should have gotten.

This study is a detailed analysis of how the government is killing the most vulnerable in society, knowinly. It outlines that the government are intentionally creating hardship for already poor people to attempt to drive them off benefits but more worryingly is is “both known and avoidable.”

Then again we knew this already too…


  • Sickening stuff. I will read the article. More fodder for change. At the risk of repeating something which may be in it, I bring up from Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”; (the more recent ? development) that
    “Government exists to funnel public money into private hands.”
    This is the reason and purpose of “Austerity”, any other result-effect is of NO interest to those private hands. This is what defines what is being done as not just a crime but a Crime Against Humanity. From around the world, we must take those Private Hands to the Hague.

    Alex, I hope you and your family had a restorative holiday.

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