David Drew MP responds to UN report that poverty in the UK is both “systematic” and “tragic”
The UN’s findings that poverty in the UK is both “systematic” and “tragic” has revealed the deliberate dismantling of the social safety net, says Stroud MP David Drew.
“It is shocking that Conservative welfare policies have now been described as comparable to the creation of 19th-century workhouses,” said Mr Drew.
The UN’s Special rapporteur on extreme poverty Prof Philip Alston has said that "ideological" cuts to public services since 2010 have led to "tragic consequences".
Prof Alston concluded:
“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.”
David Drew MP for Stroud said:
“I am sad but not entirely surprised to read the findings of Prof Alston’s report which bears out what we are see daily here in Stroud.
“One of the things we see time and time again is that Universal Credit does not lift people out of poverty, in fact it makes things worse, and is particularly harsh on single parents.
“My caseworkers tell me they regularly have people call them in tears, quite simply unable to put food on the table.
“In work poverty is a growing problem. People are working hard yet are still struggling to make ends meet.
“Removing public services and the safety net creates misery, distrust and insecurity and we are seeing the consequences in our volatile political climate.
“This report bears out the findings of other organisations. Last week’s End Child Poverty report which showed that 21% of children in Stroud are living in poverty. In Gloucester the figure is even higher, at 29%.”
“Across the UK, foodbanks are reporting record increases in use, and here n Stroud they provided 3607 emergency parcels for around 700 households last year.”
Notes for editors
The final report by Prof Alston has now been published following his visit to towns and cities across the UK.
Prof Alston is an independent expert in human rights law and spent nearly two weeks travelling in Britain and Northern Ireland and received more than 300 written submissions for his report.
The report cites independent experts saying that 14 million people in the UK - a fifth of the population - live in poverty, according to a new measure that takes into account costs such as housing and childcare.
In 2017, 1.5 million people experienced destitution, meaning they had less than £10 a day after housing costs, or they had to go without at least two essentials such as shelter, food, heat, light, clothing or toiletries during a one-month period.