Britain’s economy continues to reel from the austerity policies enacted by the conservative government, and it is having a tragic human impact in places like Stockport. As the Telegraph reports, in the last year alone, there has been a 42 percent increase in homelessness. Shelters have tried to accommodate the surge in demand, but some are seeing twice as many people in need as in the past few years.
As a result, a number of homeless individuals, including an Estonian man who identified himself as “KP,” have been forced to take up residence in a network of caves originally used as bomb shelters in World War II.
The Daily Mail has more:
According to homelessness charity Wellspring, Stockport’s sandstone caverns now hold up to four occupants at any one time. [...]
He said some rough sleepers had fallen into the river or been targeted by arsonists.
“Nobody wants to see people living in a cave,” he said. The caves were reputedly dug by hand in the 17th century.
Parts were used as air raid shelters for up to 6,500 people during the Second World War and were recently reopened as a tourist attraction.
A resident said: “We used to play in them as kids, but they’re lethal. It’s shocking to think people are living in them in 2013.”
The economic downturn that began five years ago has been exacerbated by the Tory government’s policies of massive budget cuts. It has pushed Britain’s economy toward a triple-dip recession — a prospect that was narrowly avoided thanks in part to increased government spending. It’s stifled economic growth and prolonged the resultant human suffering. And it’s all been for naught, as austerity policies have actually made it harder to reduce the deficit.