Philip Alston has accused Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd of trying to distract from the troubling findings in his report on extreme poverty in the UK.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur responded to accusations that he did not do enough research and was biased in his final report on poverty by saying:
“Rather than addressing the substance, the UK government has sought to distract from the troubling findings of this report by misrepresenting the process behind it. This is disappointing, if predictable.
“In addition to my 12 day visit at the invitation of the government, my report is based on months of preparation by me and my team, including more than 100 consultations, an analysis of over 300 submissions, and more than 100 citations to the government’s own data and that of renowned UK institutions.
“I travelled the country meeting with people in poverty, prominent researchers, and frontline staff at foodbanks and advice centers, many of whom said they wished the government would do the same. The government had an opportunity to review the report ahead of publication, yet made only eight minor changes.
“The UK is happy to use human rights to criticize other countries, but it must also reckon with its own human rights problems.”
Alston’s report found UK Government policies have led to the “systematic immiseration of millions across Great Britain” in his report, concluding that the results of the austerity experiment are “crystal clear”.
“There are 14 million people living in poverty, record levels of hunger and homelessness, falling life expectancy for some groups, ever fewer community services, and greatly reduced policing, while access to the courts for lower-income groups has been dramatically rolled back by cuts to legal aid”, the final report read.
“The imposition of austerity was an ideological project designed to radically reshape the relationship between the Government and the citizenry. UK standards of well-being have descended precipitately in a remarkably short period of time, as a result of deliberate policy choices made when many other options were available”, it concluded.
Just 14 MPs turned up to an adjournment debate on the findings of the report in January.
Amber Rudd didn’t attend, sending a junior minister in her place instead.