UK – When ever older people talk about the past. They speak in hushed tones about their dread of the ending up in the Workhouse. The Victorian institution where the poor were incarcerated just for being poor.
They go on that they are glad that the workhouse is consigned to the folk memory, the history books and Charles Dickens’s novels.
But ever since the conservatives returned to power in 2010 there has been a sneaking suspicion that they have been trying to resurrect the workhouse by stealth. Changes to housing benefit and removing housing benefit from younger people the bedroom tax and universal credit. All play their part in this.
Now a 41-bedroom homeless hostel with additional facilities has been built on the site of a former council-owned bungalow on Redbourn Road.
Its striking red dacor looks designed to draw attention to the place and by implication also shame to the inmates of the hostel.
The hostel is built on the edge of the Hemel Hempstead Industrial estate. It should also be noted that Amazon has a huge facility in Boundary Way on the same industrial estate.
Amazon is known for being a bad employer with appalling working conditions and a very high staff turnover. In the US and some European countries they have employed right wing paramilitary thugs to keep the workforce under control.
With the conservatives having won the 2015 general election things can only start to get worse. Dacorum Borough Council is a Conservative run administration looks as if it is acting as the trailblazer for the re introduction of the workhouses.