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Tory Story
One of the notes pasted around the UK to highlight life under Tory austerity with the hashtag #ToryStory on Twittervia Twitter (@Prolapsarian)

These bleak stories of British life under Tory austerity are going viral

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.