Friday, November 16, 2018

UN slams ‘patently unjust’ UK social security system

(This is neoliberalism, savage capitalism, this is what it does everywhere it goes.)

by Steven Preece

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, has delivered a scathing attack against the UK Government, claiming that austerity measures are a “political choice” that are responsible for causing endemic poverty and hardship across the country.

Below is a detailed and unedited copy of his damning report. This is a VERY long read, so you may want to bookmark this page to return to later.

“The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth, its capital is a leading centre of global finance, its entrepreneurs are innovative and agile, and despite the current political turmoil, it has a system of government that rightly remains the envy of much of the world. It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty.

This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for suicide prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation. And local authorities, especially in England, which perform vital roles in providing a real social safety net have been gutted by a series of government policies. Libraries have closed in record numbers, community and youth centers have been shrunk and underfunded, public spaces and buildings including parks and recreation centers have been sold off. While the labour and housing markets provide the crucial backdrop, the focus of this report is on the contribution made by social security and related policies.

The results? 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one...

[read more here]


  1. Hi Scott, Ella here. The article you linked to is exactly what is happening in the UK, in the entire Eurozone and here as well. It is the devastating truth. Neoliberalism (actually a complete misnomer, but it stuck) will completely eviscerate ANY society. And yes, the renewed nationalism everywhere is a reaction, a sort of defense mechanism against this brutal globalization project which continues unabated. Note also, the digital aspects of all of this, the AI component, pushed by the very Silicon Elites, who are completely disconnected from any reality facing ordinary people both here or anywhere else for that matter. I recently saw the movie I, DANIEL BLAKE - which summed up the entire situation described in the article in dramatic form. A true jewel of a film which depicts the truth.

  2. Neo-conservativism and Neo-liberalism are like a monster cannibaal version of Jack Sprat and his ravenous wife from hell. As the late, great Mr. Long would put it: one of them skins you from your head right down to your tootsie-toes while its evil mate peels you from your feet right up to your noggin.