Years of austerity have driven the poorest into squalid, crumbling homes. Can this cycle be broken?
The stark human cost of Britain’s decade-long austerity drive, welfare reforms and warped housing priorities can be glimpsed in 11 decaying flats carved from what was once a grand Victorian terrace home in Weston-super-Mare.
These bay-fronted houses were most likely thrown up in the Somerset resort’s 19th-century building boom, which carpeted the reclaimed marshland behind the windswept seafront with terraces, hotels and guesthouses. Now they are home to vulnerable private renters trapped in a desperate cycle of falling benefits, squalid housing and poor health.
One of the ground-floor flats is rented by 40-year-old Jade Smith*, who is unable to work due to anxiety and depression.
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