A United Nations Special Rapporteur visited the UK to investigate human rights violations against people with disabilities. They concluded that the current Conservative Government and the preceding Lib-Dem/Conservative coalition have been responsible for a welfare system which violated human rights of disabled citizens.
The full report can be found here – OHCHR document.
This report found that poverty is getting worse in the UK, with 14 million currently living in poverty and a projection that by 2022 40% of UK children will be within this class. The report states that the UK Government statistics are untrustworthy, using methods of measuring employment and poverty that are designed to allow ministers to say that things are improving by masking the extent of the problem.
Brexit has already caused the situation to worsen and will be even more devastating once the UK leaves. Due to Brexit the value of the pound has fallen leading to higher prices, we are at risk of losing EU funding for areas most in need and once the UK is out it will most likely result in low economic growth or even a recession.
The Scottish Government’s approach to poverty has been very different. Scotland spends around £125 million a year mitigating the effects of the UK’s austerity. This mitigation will not be sustainable in the long term, not while we remain under UK governance without the full powers to be able to raise income and the Scottish Government’s block grant seeing an annual reduction. Scotland currently has the lowest poverty rate in the UK (although in some areas it is still a significant issue) and the Scottish Government has a “promising social security system guided by the principals of dignity and social security as a human right and co-designed on the basis of evidence”.
Austerity is a choice, the UK treasury with it’s resources could spare the poor and transform the lives of those in poverty but the political choice was made to fund tax cuts for the wealthy instead. While the Conservatives continue to be in power this will always be the case and while we remain under UK control we will go on to have poverty imposed upon us. If the Scottish Government had the powers and was free to make decisions on the fiances for Scotland things may be very different for those who are worst off.