Our case study in Europe is the town of Luton, near London: population approx 185,000. Job losses here are connected to the faltering car industry. A downturn in international travel could also affect business at Luton Airport, a key UK international gateway. The equivalent of the whole of one of the city’s districts is now unemployed and claiming benefit. Figures show that unemployment has increased by 37 per cent in the last year.
The number of unemployed Americans continues to rise and some are now struggling to put food on the table, becoming increasingly dependent on food stamps to help them get by.
Food stamps are a state-subsidised programme that helps people with a low income buy food at lower prices. But for many US citizens it may not be enough to help them weather the economic crisis, as Al Jazeera’s Lucy Keating discovers in the US town of Knoxville in Tennessee.