Intervention – “Changing the Question from ‘The End of Austerity?’ to ‘What Ends in Austerity?’”

Ruth Raynor
School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape, Newcastle University

A short break from ceaseless punditry on “Brexit” was given over to chancellor Phillip Hammond’s declaration of the “end of austerity” in the UK. Of course this comment on the autumn budget, made at the end of October, has been met with scepticism. Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies told the BBC (2018): “Arguably he’s just about got to the absolute minimal definition of ending austerity but it’s certainly nothing like a bonanza for the rest of the public services”. And what does it mean to make plans for the future amidst the uncertainty of Brexit? The two events can hardly be separated (Fetzer 2018; Goodwin and Heath 2016). What we are seeing is not the end of actually existing austerity but the end of austerity’s discursive/affective usefulness for a government in chaos. Use has been shifted…

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