UN extreme poverty expert to inspect…UK

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is to start a fact-finding tour of the UK, which doesn’t exactly make you swell with pride, does it?

Between 5-16 November, Philip Alston will visit Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, London, Newcastle, and Jaywick, wherever that is, to examine the effects of the government’s austerity measures, such as cuts to benefits and local government funding.

Mr Alston said: ‘The United Kingdom is one of the richest countries in the world, but millions of people are still living in poverty there.

‘I have received hundreds of submissions that make clear many people are really struggling to make ends meet.’

Mr Alston – who has been designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on extreme poverty – will meet with government officials and people affected by poverty to learn about their experiences.

During the two-week visit that is guaranteed to send the Daily Mail absolutely bananas, some of the topics the Special Rapporteur will address include Universal Credit, child poverty, and the implications of Brexit on the UK’s poorest.

Additionally, he’ll look at the impact of the government’s increasing use of digital on the most vulnerable, such as making access to Universal Credit ‘digital by default’.

‘Poverty is intertwined with human rights standards that the United Kingdom has ratified, including the right to food, housing, and an adequate standard of living and it affects access to civil and political rights,’ the Special Rapporteur said, adding that the ‘government has made significant changes to social protection in the past decade, and I will be looking closely at the impact that has had on people living in poverty and their realisation of basic rights.’

The man’s preliminary observations and recommendations will be shared at a news conference at the end of his mission on 16 November, with his final report presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2019.

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