Breaking Britain
Britain has now been subjected to over 10 years of austerity. While those at the top were given the biggest state-sponsored bailout in history, the rest of society had to pay for it. For those at the bottom end of the economic ladder, life is precarious. I began documenting Claire and her daughter Ellie-May for Save the Children in 2013 in Keighley. Ellie is Claire and her partner Sean’s seventh child. Of their other six, one was still-born and the other five taken into social care due to heroin addiction and homelessness. With support they gave up the drugs to keep Ellie-May. Unfortunately Sean couldn’t stop, so Claire had to leave. Sean hung himself six months later. Claire now has a new network of friends like Rose, Colin and his children Kayleigh and Scott.
As Universal Credit kicks in these families are barely surviving from one day to the next in a landscape devastated by austerity. Last time I saw them Rose was threatened with prison because of her daughter’s truancy. Colin had no money, heating or food till his next pay packet in three days time. Claire is currently appealing against a ‘sanction’ of the loss of two months benefit.

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Andy has been living on the streets of Grimsby for over a year a year now. Last year he was stabbed in the stomach by several drunks whilst sleeping in a shop doorway in the town center.
Ellie-May and Kayleigh
Claire with Colin in his flat. Colin and Claire are neighbours and are constantly helping each other out. Colin works at night in a local Indian restaurant. As the local economy has weakened so his shifts have been reduced to only three nights. Last time I was there both his children, Kayleigh and Scott, where not attending school. Colin had 24 pence to last two days.
Kayleigh and Rose's in Rose's kitchen.
Scott on his phone. He has only just recently started going back to school after taking several weeks off. He just finds it pointless and boring.
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