The real cost of Britain’s bankruptcy

Danny Dorling and I have just published our latest atlas, Bankrupt Britain: An atlas of social change, on the state of Britain today.
It shows for the first time how economic and social fortunes have been affected in different areas in the wake of the 2007 banking crisis, 2008 economic crash, 2009 credit crunch and 2010 cuts. We used a wide range of administrative data to investigate how the recession has affected different places across the country, as well as looking at the impacts there have been on more general social factors.

The atlas reveals the extent of Britain’s bankruptcy in financial, residential, political, moral, emotional and environmental aspects of life across the country and highlights the way this has impacted more on the poor and vulnerable in society with the rich continuing to fare better.

As might have been expected, despite claims that this was going to be a ‘London and South East’ recession, it didn’t pan out that way. Once again the North-South divide was apparent, with the places that had least to begin with faring worse: insolvencies up, child poverty increasing, pensioners’ incomes falling, the house price divide widening, a dramatic rise in child protection orders, a huge decrease in children’s emotional wellbeing, antidepressant use up,

The bankers who were closest to the economic crisis were again, by 2011, awarding themselves multi-million pound bonuses. Government had talked tough but did not act to prevent them from doing this, even in regard to those banks in which we all had become a majority shareholder.

In the run-up to the spring of 2011, the more unfair the outcome of the measures the government took, the more they talked of fairness. This atlas shows how their actions are beginning to increase division in British society. All of this leads to a dispiriting outlook. It is probable that in the immediate future we are likely to see an increase in the general bankruptcy of British society.

The atlas only maps the start of the impacts of the recession and government cuts on Britain; we can expect the future divide to be even starker.

We’ve put updated maps on our website where more recent data has been made available. Due to the effects of government cuts on data collection and dissemination, much of the data we have mapped will not be collected in future.


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