Friday, July 01, 2016

UN Condemns UK Austerity

The UK government's austerity policies violate international human rights, and growing inequality in the nation is cause for "serious concerns," a new report by the United Nations has found. The UK government is failing "to meet their obligation to mobilize the maximum available resources for the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights," the report states.

Simon Duffy, director of the Centre on Welfare Reform, who contributed to the report, said of the findings: "The past six years of austerity have seen the UK government intentionally diminish the rights of its own citizens.... There is no good reason for these ongoing attacks; instead it seems likely that these groups have been targeted simply because they are convenient scapegoats for problems they did not cause."

The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights found that six years after the Conservative party took power and extended the previous Coalition's stringent economic practices, UK residents have faced an increased reliance on food banks, rising unemployment rates, a housing crisis, and growing racism and discrimination, among other impacts. Women, minorities, young people, and people with disabilities were disproportionately affected, the authors said.

It was "deeply concerned" about "the various changes in the entitlements to, and cuts in, social benefits," which mostly affected "disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups, including women, children, persons with disabilities, low-income families and families with two or more children."

Meanwhile, the new living wage of £7.20 per hour was still too low for the cost of living. The committee "is concerned at the high incidence of part-time work, precarious self-employment, temporary employment, and unreliable contracts...particularly affecting women," the report states.

Jamie Burton, chairman of the charity group Just Fair, which helped coordinate the research, added, "The UN's verdict is clear and indisputable.... It is clear that since 2010, ministers were fully aware that their policies would hit lower income groups hardest and deepen the suffering of many already facing disadvantage without offering any long term gain for the pain they inflicted."

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