Amber Rudd intends to complain to the UN (Report, 23 May) about the damning report on austerity in Britain despite the hard evidence for most of the points in Philip Alston’s report, which will soon be presented to the UN human rights council in Geneva. It is ironic that Rudd introduced punitive policies linked to universal credit and the assessment of vulnerable adults entitled to independent living allowance. Yet she claims “the UK is one of the happiest places to live”.
Alston describes the systemic immiseration of a significant part of the population and this is backed up by research by the Care Quality Commission, Unicef and the Institute for Fiscal Studies – working families dependent on food banks; unprecedented child mental health problems; teachers being driven to provide food for pupils; the closures of youth services and Sure Start centres; and the hostile environment towards immigrants.
As a former school governor and youth service manager, and a current child safeguarding officer in deprived authorities in the north-west, I am all too familiar with the concerns raised in Alston’s report. The rights of the individual are being consistently undermined and British compassion has been replaced by a punitive and often callous approach.
• I read that an incensed Amber Rudd is to complain about Philip Alston’s report on poverty. She says that “our welfare reforms are focussed on supporting people into employment …” Three pages on, one reads that “Universal credit is forcing women into sex work”. One can only conclude that the DWP’s policies are working. Perhaps “get on your bike” is too last century; for today, it’s “get on your back”. To the DWP, the world is your oyster.
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