Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with income support claimants, Hardship Britainprovides the ﬁrst major qualitative assessment of the effects of the 1988 social security reforms on the lives of people receiving beneﬁts. With special emphasis on the lives of people from minority ethnic groups, the focus is on the experience of poverty and exclusion, and its impact on self-esteem and personal dignity. Professionals and academics have all had their say about the nature of poverty. In Hardship Britain claimants speak for themselves. Hardship Britain gets to the heart of what it means to be poor in the 1990s.