In the summer of 2010, the UK embarked on a strange economic experiment.

Britain, then in the grip of a post-crash recession, had just elected a new government led by the Conservative party. In his first budget, the Tory finance minister, George Osborne, reeled-off a litany of cuts: public sector pay would be frozen, pensions reformed, disability and housing benefits slashed, and a raft of progressive tax credits abolished. In total, more than £30bn ($50bn CAD) would be stripped from state expenditure every year until 2015.

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