DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Social Justice

Philip Hammond 'can't see' the UK poverty brought up in UN report

The Chancellor continued the government’s steadfast refusal to take on Dr Philip Alston’s findings

Philip Hammond has blasted the UN report into poverty in the UK insisting that Dr Philip Alston’s findings are “not what we see in this country”.

The Chancellor told BBC’s Newsnight that he did not accept the report “at all” after it was released two weeks ago.

Dr Alston’s damning conclusion ripped into Universal Credit, welfare cuts and austerity following a whirlwind 12-day visit of the UK last November where he visited foodbanks, schools and more to assess life for the poorest in this country.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights described the DWP as creating a “digital and sanitised version of the 19th-century workhouse made infamous by Charles Dickens”. He also laid the blame on the government for 14 million people living in poverty.

But Hammond was bullish in his response. He said: “I reject the idea that there are vast numbers of people facing dire poverty in this country.

“I don’t accept the UN rapporteur’s report at all. I think that’s a nonsense. Look around you, that’s not what we see in this country.

“Of course there are people struggling with the cost of living. I understand that. But the point being is that we are addressing these things through getting to the root causes.”

One of Dr Alston’s recommendations – for a new poverty measurement to be adopted from the Social Metrics Commission – has already been adopted.

But it is not the first time that the UN’s findings have been rejected.

Following his preliminary findings in November, newly installed Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd slammed the “extraordinary political nature of the language” used by Dr Alston.

Following the final report, Rudd’s immediate response was to ponder filing a complaint to the UN citing political bias and poor research.

The UK will be given a chance to respond formally on June 27 when Dr Alston reports his findings to the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Whether that will be a refusal to listen or acknowledgement of UK’s poverty problem or a willingness will be another matter entirely.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate on winning gold and being told she doesn't look disabled enough
Jessica-Jane Applegate
Learning Disability Week 2024

Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate on winning gold and being told she doesn't look disabled enough

'People in prison need art, music and reading': Inside the prison libraries that break down walls
Prisons

'People in prison need art, music and reading': Inside the prison libraries that break down walls

Tory manifesto: Rishi Sunak slammed for 'arbitrary, untenable and cruel' immigration pledges
Rishi Sunak at the Conservative 2024 election manifesto launch
General election 2024

Tory manifesto: Rishi Sunak slammed for 'arbitrary, untenable and cruel' immigration pledges

'How dare he': Sunak claims the Tories have reduced child poverty – but it's not exactly the truth
rishi sunak/ child poverty
General election 2024

'How dare he': Sunak claims the Tories have reduced child poverty – but it's not exactly the truth

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know