I have a new travelogue out in Morning Star, illustrated by the esteemed Louis Netter.
“WE’VE only been in Jaywick for an hour and we’re sure this is the most deprived place we’ve ever seen, at least in this country. The stats bear this out — 57 per cent of the denizens rely on some form of state benefit to survive.
Besides, you know your town might just be in a spot of bother when a United Nations poverty investigator decides to visit, which is precisely what happened here in 2018.
Professor Philip Alston concluded that Jaywick’s woes had nothing to do with personal idleness, and everything to do with years of public underfunding and the Tory government’s callous universal credit system.
Further back in time, when deindustrialisation was killing jobs across Britain’s mining and factory belts, the closure of the Butlin’s holiday camp nearby in 1983 condemned subsequent generations to unemployment.
Indeed, looking around it’s hard to fathom how an economy that consists of a few small shops and eateries could provide enough work to however many of Jaywick’s 5,000 inhabitants would need it.”
Read the rest of the article here.