The British Government's austerity policies are a breach of international human rights, a new report by the UN has warned. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has expressed “serious concerns” about growing inequality in the UK following six years of austerity policies under the current Conservative Government and the Coalition which preceded it. Based on evidence provided by charities and campaign groups, the body concluded that the regressive nature of policies such as universal credit and the “bedroom tax” meant they breached the UK’s international human rights obligations.
The review is the first of UK policy since 2009, making it the first time Conservative policy has come under scrutiny. The report’s authors said they were “deeply concerned” about “the various changes in the entitlements to, and cuts in, social benefits” which it says disproportionately affect women, young people, ethnic minorities and disabled people. The study found the new “living wage” of £7.20 per hour still did not provide an adequate standard of living - especially for people living in London - and that the Government was not doing enough to stop people having to rely on foodbanks. The Government should take steps to reduce the number of people in part time work and relying on “zero hours” contracts, it suggested.
The report also highlighted a rise in VAT coinciding with a fall in inheritance and corporation tax, meaning the poor are paying comparatively more tax and the rich less. The Committee recommended the UK adopts a “socially equitable” tax policy and clamps down further on tax avoidance. It also voiced concerns about “persistent discrimination” against migrant workers.
The report was completed before the UK voted to leave the European Union last week.
Don't get me wrong, I think the UN is worth listening to on certain issues but when there's North Korea testing ballistic missiles, ISIS in Iraq/Syria causing a huge referee crisis, Western-Russian relations struggling etc, surely they should be looking at the bigger picture?
Aslan Khuseinovich Abashidze (Russian Federation 2010-2014)
Mohamed Ezzeldin abdel-Moneim (Egyp t2008–2012)
Clement Atangana (Cameroon 2010-2014)
Rocío Barahona Riera (Costa Rica 2008–2012)
Jun Cong (China 2008–2012)
Chandrashekhar Dasgupta (India 2010–2014)
Zdzislaw Kedzia (Vice-chairperson) (Poland 2008–2012)
Azzouz Kerdoun (Algeria 2010–2014)
Jaime Marchan Romero (Ecuador 2010–2014)
Sergei Martynov (Belarus 2008-2012)
Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay (Chairperson) (Mauritius 2008–2012)
Renato Zerbini Ribeiro Leão (Brazil 2010–2014)
Eibe Riedel (Germany 2008–2012)
Waleed Sadi (Rapporteur) (Jordan 2008–2012)
Nikolaas Jan Schrijver (Vice-chairperson) (Netherlands2008–2012)
Heisoo Shin (South Korea 2010–2014)
Philippe Texier (France 2008–2012)
Alvaro Tirado Mejia (Colombia 2010–2014)
It doesn't help that many individuals on this UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights aren't exactly from nations which you'd call liberal when it comes to Human Rights, economic freedom & multiculturalism.
I wonder if they've also criticised the Greek & Spanish governments for austerity too.
If you're particularly interested it looks like you can read their reports here.
Surely the United Nations has better things it could be doing than this?
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