UN Special Rapporteur’s visit shows the need to tackle poverty here and now

Today the UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, presented the preliminary findings of his investigation into poverty in the UK. Chris Goulden, Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact for JRF, responds.

“Philip Alston has carried out a thorough look at how people in the UK live – 14 million of them in poverty. He has found many examples around the country - parents, children, working people, disabled people, north and south, locked into poverty and unable to break free.

"The Government needs to read the rapporteur’s report and act on it now, bringing the country together to build the just and compassionate society we all want to be a part of.

“As a nation we have tackled poverty before and we need to do so again. Social security should be providing an anchor for people when their circumstances sweep them into poverty – it certainly shouldn’t be leaving them destitute.

“There are clear actions the UK Government can take – ending the freeze on benefits and building on the principles behind Universal Credit to make sure that work is a proper route out of poverty. The Budget included a welcome step to raise the work allowance for people on Universal Credit – demonstrating what can be done when people living in poverty are heard.

“The rapporteur is right to highlight the importance of the work of the Social Metrics Commission, and we want to see this move the conversation on from arguing about measures to taking action against a rising tide of poverty. Brexit may be drawing much political energy away from the domestic agenda but this is an injustice which continues to burn and can’t be allowed to continue".