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Coventry under the cuts to be examined

The effects of austerity Britain on Coventry & Warwickshire are to be discussed at a public meeting which will bring together local charities, campaigners and academics.

The University of Warwick is organising the event which is being held on Thursday 3 March at Central Methodist Hall.

Representatives from Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau, charities Coventry Cyrenians and St Basils and Coventry Trades Union Council and the People’s Assembly will be taking to the stage at the meeting which will be open to anyone.

They will be discussing the hardships faced by various groups across the region such as the homeless, the young, carers, the elderly, low wage earners and women. Dr Juanita Elias, associate professor in international political economy at the University of Warwick said: “In the context of austerity and an ageing population, the crisis of care in Britain is intensifying. However, it is largely discussed in terms of rising costs of care to the state, but rarely in terms of the costs to those engaged in doing this work - a large proportion of whom are women.

“Low pay and poor conditions of work for those engaged in care work is a major concern, as is the wellbeing of those in their care. Since a major share of care is performed by family members, including grandparents, attention must be given to unpaid as well as paid care work."

The meeting Austerity Britain: Where From and Where to? Has been organised by the Politics and International Studies (PAIS) department at the University of Warwick. The aim of the event is to raise awareness of the hardships faced by many people living in the city and Warwickshire and to find methods of tackling the effects of austerity. This month (February) it was announced that council tax bills in Coventry are set to rise by 3.9 per cent - an increase of £60 for the average Band D home.

Tony Conway, chair of the People’s Assembly, Coventry, said: “Government spending cuts have hit Coventry people hard. The last two remaining playcentres in Coventry are up for closure. Already SureStart has gone. Disability services are reduced. When will it end? We need to create a mass movement against austerity. This meeting by bringing together a wide spectrum of people will help us do this.”

Sophie Parkes from Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau, another speaker, adds: “Our homelessness enquiries have increased by 100% from this time last year.

“We know that the high cost of living, low incomes and welfare reform have played a part in this increase. Reduction in resources and services because of cuts to local government from central government have seen many more vulnerable people rely on our help.

“Increased enquiries on disability benefits as forms become longer and more complicated to complete as people are reassessed have also seen our service heavily relied upon.”

Following talks by invited speakers, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions and discuss the issues raised. The event is taking place on 3 March from 7-8.30pm. It is free; to register visit 

In addition a Facebook page has been set up

23 February 2016

Austerity Britain: Where From and Where To?’ organised by the University of Warwick, Politics and International Studies Department, 3 March, Coventry Central Methodist Hall

Dr Chris Clarke, Assistant Professor in Political Economy at the University of Warwick: financial crisis, economic ideas and alternative finance.

Mr Tony Conway, Chair of the People’s Assembly, Coventry

Dr Juanita Elias, Associate Professor in International Political Economy: crisis of social care in UK

Mr Mike Fowler, Chief Executive of Coventry Cyrenians, which provides services to homeless and vulnerably housed people in Coventry and Warwickshire with the objective of improving their quality of life and to empower them to live as independently as possible.

Dr Simon Glaze, Teaching Fellow in International Political Economy, University of Warwick: economic ideas and policy making in the UK

Mr Matt King, Fair Chance, Prevention & Floating Support Service Manager at St Basil’s Coventry, which works with young people aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Mrs Jane Nellist, Secretary of the Coventry Trade Unions Council and a member of the executive of the National Union of Teachers.

Ms Sophie Parkes, Campaigns, Communications & Marketing Manager at Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau

Dr Ben Richardson, Associate Professor in International Political Economy, University of Warwick: the moral dimensions of economic policies, including austerity.

Dr Chris Rogers, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Economy, University of Warwick: the history of austerity in Britain, social democracy, and possibilities for developing alternatives to capitalism


For further details please contact Nicola Jones, Communications Manager, University of Warwick 07920531221 or