“Everyone has their price. It’s just not always monetary. Mine is though. 20 quid.” Single mum. ‘Stain on society’. Caught in a poverty trap. It’s a luxury to afford morals and if you’re Cash Carraway, you do what you can to survive. Skint Estate is the hard-hitting, blunt, dignified and brutally revealing debut memoir about impoverishment, loneliness and violence in austerity Britain – set against a grim landscape of sink estates, police cells, refuges and peepshows – skilfully woven into a manifesto for change. Alone, pregnant and living in a women’s refuge, Cash Carraway couldn’t vote in the 2010 general election that ushered austerity into Britain. Her voice had been silenced. Years later, she watched Grenfell burn from a women’s refuge around the corner. What had changed? The vulnerable were still at the bottom of the heap, unheard. Without a stable home, without a steady income, without family support – how do you survive?
In Skint Estate, Cash has found her voice – loud, raw and cutting. This is a book born straight from life lived in Britain below the poverty line – a brutal landscape savaged by universal credit, zero-hours contracts, rising rents and public service funding cuts. Told with a dark lick of humour and two-fingers up to the establishment, Cash takes us on her isolated journey from council house childhood to single motherhood, working multiple jobs yet relying on food banks and temporary accommodation, all while skewering stereotypes of what it means to be working class.
Despite being beaten down from all angles, Cash clings to the important things – love for her daughter, community and friendships – and has woven together a highly charged, hilarious and guttural cry for change.
‘Cash is the definition of edgy, a truly distinctive voice’ – Lionel Shriver, bestselling author of We Need to Talk about Kevin