Too many of our children ‘condemned to poverty’

A study that showed that two parts of Yorkshire were in the poorest 10 regions of Northern Europe has been thrown into fresh relief with a new UN report on poverty in the UK.

South Yorkshire was fifth worst off area and East Yorkshire the 10th, according to the non-political Inequality Briefing group, when it looked at relative prosperity a few years ago.

Meanwhile, Inner London was the richest area in Northern Europe, according to the group. It said: “The poorest UK regions are by far the poorest in Northern Europe. This is because the UK is much more unequal than other countries, where there is nowhere as rich as London, but nowhere as poor as our poorest regions.”

This month (November 2018) a UN specialist highlighted the depth of poverty in areas of the UK.

The Guardian newspaper reported his findings: “The UK government has inflicted ‘great misery’ on its people with ‘punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous’ austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity.

“Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the UK with a stinging declaration that levels of child poverty were ‘not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster’, even though the UK was the world’s fifth largest economy,

“About 14m people, a fifth of the population, lived in poverty, and 1.5m were destitute, being unable to afford basic essentials, he said, citing figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.”

Professor Alston concludes: “The experience of the United Kingdom, especially since 2010, underscores the conclusion that poverty is a political choice.”

Chris Whitwood            Picture: Robbie MacDonald

Yorkshire Party Deputy Leader Chris Whitwood said the reports showed the awful reality of life for too many disadvantaged families in modern Yorkshire.

He said: “The UN report on poverty in the UK further demonstrates the appalling disparity perpetrated by both Labour and Conservative governments condemning our children to poverty, constraining creativity and aspiration and our not valuing our workers by focusing on low paid/low skilled jobs lacking in security and sense of purpose.”

The Inequality Briefing data were produced by Eurostat, the European Union’s data agency. 

Read Prof Alston’s report at https://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?LangID=E&NewsID=23881

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