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UK Government is in denial

A Statement has been released today by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, following his visit to the United Kingdom.

“The results? 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.”

“The Government has remained determinedly in a state of denial.”

“Although the provision of social security to those in need is a public service and a vital anchor to prevent people being pulled into poverty, the policies put in place since 2010 are usually discussed under the rubric of austerity. But this framing leads the inquiry in the wrong direction. In the area of poverty-related policy, the evidence points to the conclusion that the driving force has not been economic but rather a commitment to achieving radical social re-engineering.”

“Successive governments have brought revolutionary change in both the system for delivering minimum levels of fairness and social justice to the British people, and especially in the values underpinning it. Key elements of the post-war Beveridge social contract are being overturned. In the process, some good outcomes have certainly been achieved, but great misery has also been inflicted unnecessarily, especially on the working poor, on single mothers struggling against mighty odds, on people with disabilities who are already marginalized, and on millions of children who are being locked into a cycle of poverty from which most will have great difficulty escaping.”

Professor Alston's statement is available to read in full at:

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23881&LangID=E

The Centre for Welfare Reform made a submission to the UN Rapporteur, all submissions made prior to Professor Alston's visit are available to read at:

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/UKVisitSubmissions.aspx

The Guardian reports here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/16/epitaph-theresa-may-goverment-damning-un-report

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/16/uk-austerity-has-inflicted-great-misery-on-citizens-un-says

The Independent reports here:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/un-report-uk-poverty-austerity-government-cuts-special-rapporteur-benefits-callous-a8636901.html

Channel 4 News filmed the following report here:

https://www.channel4.com/news/un-expert-says-austerity-has-condemned-millions-to-poverty