Broke Fixing Britain’s poverty crisis edited by Tom Clark


Biteback Publishing
30 March 2023/1 July 2024

A dozen years into austerity, statistical warning lights are flashing to suggest a return to types of deprivation that we once imagined we had consigned to the history books. In the decade up to the pandemic, the official count of rough sleepers doubled. Recorded malnutrition in hospital patients has tripled. Dependence on food banks is up by an order of magnitude. Amid rising prices and falling confidence, all the forecasts are for such numbers getting even worse.

And yet it has never been statistics but rather individual human stories – from the fictionalised accounts of Dickens to the faithful reporting of Orwell and Priestley – that have seared the reality of hard times into the imagination. In Broke, Tom Clark assembles today’s masters of social reportage to go deep into the communities so often ignored by politicians, introducing us to those at the hardest end of the poverty crisis. With contributions from Jem Bartholomew, Cal Flyn, Dani Garavelli, Frances Ryan, Samira Shackle, Daniel Trilling and Jennifer Williams, the collection will feature chapters on cold, hunger, homelessness, ill-health, disability, debt, work and the migrant experience. Kerry Hudson, the award-winning author of Lowborn, will provide a foreword, while Joel Goodman’s bespoke photography will bring the characters to life.

Among the star cast of award-winning journalists, several have first-hand experience of the issues raised. This urgent collection restores some badly needed empathy to the public discussion, blending powerful human stories with analysis of the policies that have led us to where we are now – and the reforms we urgently need.

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