The #ToryStory Twitter trend is showcasing urgent issues of mental health, homelessness, and housing under the Conservative government
Contrary to what the Tories want us to believe, the UK is anything but strong and stable, and a series of handwritten notes posted across the country, which have gone viral under the hashtag #ToryStory, paint a heartbreaking story of the impact Conservative-sanctioned austerity has had.
It all started with a now-viral handwritten note posted at a UK bus stop, which points at the Tories’ welfare reforms (read: cuts), urging people to register and vote Labour. “Had my benefits taken away. Work two jobs now and I still barely make the rent every month. Always worried I’ll lose work if I have to take time off to care for sick family members. Don’t know how much more of this I can take. We have to get the Tories out,” it reads.
Since then, hundreds of notes have begun appearing all over the country and then elevated further on social media, telling personal stories of those impacted most by the Conservatives and their ruthless policies, who’ve spent the last nine years stripping public services, funding starvation, and distracting us with the Trojan horse that is Brexit.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the vital stories that need to be heard.
ON MENTAL HEALTH
We’re in the midst of a mental health epidemic. In the last 25 years, rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers has increased by 70 per cent, while the number of young people being admitted to hospital for psychiatric problems has doubled since 2009, and the same goes for the number of those admitted to hospital in the past three years.
Now, while you let that soak in, imagine this: by reducing funding to these mental health services, paired with a higher demand for therapy, the Tories have effectively made it increasingly difficult for affected people to access vital mental health services.
Found this hanging on a local bus stop in #finsburypark area.— Cip (@cipciripcip) November 7, 2019
Whoever you are - keep fighting, please. I hope you’ll get help you need. I hope you’ll never have to revisit these thoughts. And thank you for sticking with the world of living. #n4#torystory#depression#nhspic.twitter.com/kWsXYUiHl8
ON NHS STRAIN
The privatisation of the NHS is no joke, and with the highest ever rate of vacant posts for nurses reported this year, at more than 43,000 missing roles, more and more vulnerable people are slipping through the net of healthcare.
A survey by the Health Service Journal, for example, found that 93 per cent of NHS trusts are falling short, with nearly half understaffed of nurses by 10 per cent. For context, that’s three times more than five years ago. Instead, nurses are being substituted for untrained assistants.
But where are the nurses going? It started in 2016, when George Osbourne commissioned the McKinsey report, which said there would not be a need for nurses in the future. The following year, bursaries were abolished for trainee nurses, which cut the number of subsequent applicants, while 5,000 nurses returned to the EU as a result of the Brexit vote.
One particularly stark Tory Story comes from a working GP, who highlights below some of the suffering she has seen inflicted on her patients by the Tory government.
This is Lucy.— NHS for Labour (@NHSdirectaction) November 5, 2019
Lucy is a GP who has had enough of the suffering inflicted on her patients by this Conservative government.
You can follow her @drpoco.
If you are an #NHS worker, tell us why you are voting @uklabour. #mypublicduty#ToryStorypic.twitter.com/PGtwOcpmw5
ON THE OPPRESSIVE HOUSING ENVIRONMENT
Welcome to generation rent, where exploitative contracts, semi-permanent contracts, and ruthless landlords are the norm. On average, 40 per cent of our wages goes paying rent every month, and two in five renters think they’ll never be able to buy a home.
Meanwhile, the Conservative party’s 2015 manifesto hasn’t delivered any of the 200,000 ‘starter homes’ it promised to build by 2020 for first-time buyers under the age of 40, to help young people onto the property ladder.
According to the National Audit Office, no such homes have been built because the government has not set aside budget for them, despite the 2015 manifesto promising £2.3 billion to support the building of the first 60,000.
#ToryStory— IDP 🌹 (@Scotialism_IDP) November 5, 2019
I was stuck in terrible private rented housing. Landlord refused to fix a boiler that failed gas safety tests - so dangerous. Letting agent ripped me off. No council houses, can’t afford mortgage on average wage. We are #GenerationRent in the #HousingCrisispic.twitter.com/60l1PP4NdL
ON THE URGENT, HEARTBREAKING ISSUE OF HOMELESSNESS
Since the Tories took power in 2009, there has been a 165 per cent increase in homelessness, and this doesn’t even cover hidden homelessness in unsafe accommodations, such as squats or sofa surfing.
Much of the problem can be attributed to high rent costs, housing shortages, and welfare cuts introduced in 2012, which set into movement the benefit cap, putting the most vulnerable at serious risk.
This is a small shrine for an Italian homeless woman who died a few months ago. I pass this almost everyday and it's heartbreaking. She didn't have to sleep rough, she didn't have to die. Homelessness has doubled since Tory austerity, they should be ashamed. #ToryStorypic.twitter.com/dAeBXoc7qj— Bee 🐝VOTE LABOUR FOR SOCIALISM✊🌹 (@bee_drills) November 8, 2019
This #ToryStory was left in Finsbury Park Station.— Mahir Demir #GTTO (@Mahir_London) November 7, 2019
Since 2010 theres been a 169% rise in homelessness in the country. Total numbers of homeless is 320,000 ppl in UK, the 6th richest country in the world. All thanks to Tories & Lib Dems#VoteLabour2019 to get these monsters out pic.twitter.com/5oeMW02BAu
ON THE INCREASING NEED FOR FOOD BANKS AND A BROKEN BENEFITS SYSTEM
One in five children in the UK live in homes that don’t have a healthy supply of food, which makes it the worst for child hunger in Europe. It can be put down to a combination of (you guessed it) high living costs and stagnating wages, and while the stats speak for themselves, it doesn’t stop the Tories from once again ignoring what’s right in front of them.
It was only earlier this month that Conservative election candidate Antony Calvert, who was standing in the Labour seat of Wakefield, said on Facebook: “If ever there was a reason to be involved in public office” it was to uncover the “ludicrous” idea of food poverty in the UK. That says it all.
Excuse my handwriting, @jeremycorbyn told my #torystory tonight. I cared for my Dad until he passed whilst being a single mom and not being able to work, 50hrs a week £60 carers allowance. I wouldnt change the time i had with my Dad but i shouldnt of had to use a food bank. pic.twitter.com/10mESsF0lS— MoaningPoetry.🌹🌹 (@OliverLisamarie) November 7, 2019