Dr Philip Alston’s long-awaited final United Nations report into poverty in the UK has warned that the government is infringing human rights of poor families with a “punitive and mean-spirited approach”.
The UN Special Rapporteur on poverty’s scathing report ripped into Universal Credit, welfare cuts and austerity following a whirlwind 12-day visit to the UK last year to meet with foodbanks, schools and more to assess life on the breadline in the country.
And his findings have laid the blame at the feet of the government with the DWP described as creating a “digital and sanitised version of the 19th-century workhouse made infamous by Charles Dickens”.
Dr Alston also warned that local government cuts to preventative services had been replaced with crisis intervention services that are even costlier and recommended that the government scrapped the benefits cap and ended the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment.
Dr Alston said: “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.”
When Dr Alston delivered his preliminary report in November last year, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd responded bullishly, citing the political language used.