Anne is a single parent, retraining as a teaching assistant in an effort to find secure, stable work that will allow her to support her daughter. Jobs are so scarce, that even with new qualifications, she is finding her lack of experience is hindering her chances. Job centre staff have told her she should give up her goal and become a care worker instead. She says, “Does that mean I can’t compete? Am I not good enough? I don’t understand.” She says a bombardment of negativity from the job centre, politicians and media, that she is a skiver, makes the process of looking for work unbearable. Anne says, “I have ended up on antidepressants. Everything is too much. People are willing to look for a job, but if you push and push and push and make them feel low, you will not get the results.”

Source: Mary O’Hara (2014) Austerity Bites, Policy Press, 112