Government must take urgent action on poverty

Date Posted: Friday 16th November 2018

WBG response to  findings of UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty


Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women’s Budget Group said:

We very much welcome the statement of Professor Phillip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and human rights today.

As Professor Alston points out ‘poverty is a political choice’. Austerity policies since 2010 that will cut social security benefits by £35bn a year by the early 2020s have gone hand in hand with tax cuts that will cost the Treasury £47bn per year by 2021/22. These cuts have forced millions of people into poverty. Our research with the Runnymede Trust has shown that tax/benefit changes have hit the poorest hardest, women harder than men and black and minority women hardest of all. We have also found that disabled lone mothers with a disabled child stand to lose over £10,000 a year on average, nearly a third of their income.

The human cost of these policies has had a devastating impact on the lives of many families, but as Professor Alston highlights the UK Government ‘has remained determinedly in a state of denial.’ We hope that his report will act as a much needed spur to the Government to take action to reverse social security cuts, address the continued problems with Universal Credit and end the punitive sanctions regime.

The Women’s Budget Group’s response to the 2018 budget can be found here

Our submission to the Special Rapporteur can be found here

Our report on the causes and consequences of women’s poverty can be found here