“The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth, its capital is a leading centre of global finance, its entrepreneurs are innovative and agile, and despite the current political turmoil, it has a system of government that rightly remains the envy of much of the world. It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty.”
So starts UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston’s report in his recent report on the situation in the UK. 14 million people currently live in poverty, 4 million of them below the poverty line and 1.5 million classed as destitute and unable to afford basic essentials. He states that the full picture cannot be captured by statistics alone, as he discovered spending time with charitable groups, parliamentary committees, independent authorities, politicians, service users and many more.
He goes on to describe how one single actor remains in a state of denial about the whole situation, that actor being the government, who insist that all is well and going to plan. That’s certainly not what we at the Food Bank witness on a day to day basis, seeing the impact that austerity and the flawed universal credit scheme is having on families throughout the region.
It’s a lengthy document, but it’s worth a read. You can find it on the United Nations Human Rights website by following the links below: