United Nations General Assembly report: Extreme poverty and human rights in the United Kingdom

‘The bottom line is that much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos.’

This is from a June 2019 report (pdf) from the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. The Special Rapporteur visited the country in November 2018, gathering evidence to report to the Human Rights Council on the extent to which the Government’s policies and programmes relating to extreme poverty are consistent with its human rights obligations.

Despite the size of the UK’s economy, the report highlights that one in five people in the UK live in poverty. It points to the ‘major increases’ in homelessness and rough sleeping and simultaneous huge rise in the use of food banks, and highlights the particular impact of government reforms on people with severe disabilities, on single mothers, on people living with mental illness, and on teachers. Though the report welcomes some changes that have been made to the Universal Credit system, it notes that they ‘have not stemmed the overall direction of the tide’.

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