Something's Not Right: Insecurity and an Anxious Nation | Rethinking Poverty

Something’s Not Right: Insecurity and an Anxious Nation

Posted on 15 Jan 2015   Categories: Publications Related Tags:  , ,

Britain has become a ‘5-75-20 society’  

Download Something’s Not Right: insecurity and an anxious nation here

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A major new report from Compass commissioned by the Webb Memorial Trust analyses the precarious, insecure and anxious state of our country as we enter an election year.

The major findings of this in-depth report are:

  • Insecurity is now pervasive – effecting as many as 95% of the country
  • We are being conditioned to accept insecurity as an ‘inevitable’ facet of modern life
  • There is a 5% elite, 20% who are poor and 75% are the ’new insecure’
  • Full time employment is no longer a guarantee of social security
  • 75% cannot afford the mortgage of on a local 3 bed home
  • The use of food banks has increased by 163% over the last year
  • Stress and anxiety are casuing a tidal wave of mental illness problems – ruining lives and costing the country up to £105 billion a year
  • Insecurity breeds resentment to others and helps to account for the rise of UKIP
  • While another crash or a rise in interest rates will only cement the mood of national insecurity, these trends pre-date the 2008 crash and are unlikely to be addressed through any future ‘recovery’ alone


Something’s not right analyses the problems of insecurity before a more detailed set of policy proposals to address the issues raised by this initial report are published in March.  This second report will focus on areas such as:

  • The reconceptualisation of ’the good society’ and ‘the good life’ around collective and not just individual notions of freedom and autonomy
  • The rebalancing of key assets like housing (ensuring sufficient social housing by redirecting the housing benefit bill from subsidies to landlords to investment in bricks and mortar)
  • The place that ideas like a Citizens Income might have in ensuring social security and social citizenship
  • The revival of our democratic decision-making structures to bring them in-line with 21st century culture and demands – such as proportional representation and workplace democracy

Michael Orton, author of the report said “we no longer experience insecurity as a blip before life returns to to normal. Today insecurity is a constant and widespread feature of most of our lives – we need to know why we are so insecure and what we can do about it”

Barry Knight, Director of the Webb Memorial Trust said

“This report highlights the scale of insecurity across modern Britain and the impact that it is having on family and community cohesion as well as individual flourishing and mental health. 

The challenge for all parties going into the next election will be how to tackle this deep rooted sense of insecurity across an increasing number of groups in society to prevent the politics of fear and scapegoating from taking hold in our communities.”



Note to Editors

Compass is the home for all those that want to build a Good Society, one that is much more equal, sustainable and democratic. See for more information.

The project on Rethinking Social Security – of which this is the first report – is being genrously supported by The Webb Memorial Trust,

Dr Michael Orton is currently on a career break from his job as a researcher at the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick. Michael is working on a major Compass project on social security and is now identifying solutions to socio-economic insecurity, within the context of building a Good Society.  Michael tweets as @MichaelOrton9 and can be contacted by email at or via

Posted on 15 Jan 2015   Categories: Publications Related Tags:  , ,

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