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UK’s Extreme Poverty Being Investigated By the UN


The UK is by far one of the richest countries in the EU and the world, so why are so many of us still living in poverty?

There are many reasons for this and the UN are investigating the issue, as well as what we can do to change this. As of November 2018, Philip Alston, the appointed UN poverty and human rights specialist, is due to visit some of the UK’s most poverty-stricken towns. This will help the UN and UK government to understand the impact funding is having on Britain’s families. Read on to find out why the UK is still struggling with poverty.

Why Are So Many in Poverty in the UK?

Families are in poverty for a variety of different reasons, but it is mainly the high cost of living. Each year, the costs of everything from transport to household expenses are rising. The government has tried to counteract this by increasing the National Living Wage. Although it seems that we are getting paid more, with prices rising in other areas, we are still in the same boat after our wage increase.

Benefits are another big reason people are living in poverty, as for those working but still struggling to support a family, it can often seem better to not have a job at all. This is due to those not working being entitled to more than those who are working, and with the costs of childcare, working can become more expensive than not having a job.

Health is a big factor when it comes to poverty, especially unexpected illnesses. This can cause weeks off work, which people cannot afford, and this can have a big impact on paying bills, causing debt. Payday loans are becoming more popular to help those who need to pay bills, as a short-term loan can help you deal with a cash flow emergency. Payday loans are becoming an increasingly necessary choice for people that need help paying household bills, as a short-term finance can help you deal with a cash flow emergency. Online credit broker Cashlady.com explain why small loans are sometimes helpful in certain circumstances.

What is the UN Investigating?

This investigation is going to look at many things to understand why so many UK families still live in poverty, despite the UK having a wealthy economy. There are many homeless people in the UK, especially in big cities such as Manchester and London. Alston is going to gather evidence from families affected by poverty, to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Often poverty is just a statistic, but by meeting real families, Alston wants to change this. Looking at everything from local government funds to welfare benefits, we will have a greater idea of how the rising costs in the UK have affected households.

Alston says he has had plenty of submissions that show how tight people’s budgets are each month and he thinks that this is a breach of basic human rights. For families living in poverty, this is a huge step in the right direction to battling this.

How is Poverty Affecting The UK?

Poverty affects many in different ways. Often the biggest problems for those living in poverty is their health. Not having the money to make ends meet means people aren’t meeting their basic needs. This includes eating, washing, and sleeping. Stress is a huge contributor to those living in poverty and this can cause many other health problems. In September, CNN reported that in the UK almost 4 million children lived in households that could not afford to buy fruit and vegetables. This means for those children the risk of malnourishment or obesity is greater. With this comes additional problems such as bullying and health issues. For some, poverty means being homeless and struggling to get back into the working world.

What Has Our Government Done to Help?

In 2009, the Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, wanted to reduce government spending to help with the issue of poverty within the UK. Then in 2010, after the financial crisis, the government said it was going to ditch thousands of government jobs to counteract the amount of public debt. This included cutting welfare benefits and reducing the cost of public spending by millions.

This strategy set out by the government was a test to see how much they could reduce spending without impacting economic recovery. Alston will investigate how this experiment has turned out for millions of the UK’s poorest households. He is also going to look at how the country’s decision to leave the European Union will affect poverty within the UK.

The UN’s investigation of the UK’s poverty will help people to get their views out there and perhaps implement changes. As the UK is such a rich country, there is no reason there should be such great poverty, and something needs to be done. You can find out more about exactly what the UN’s poverty and human rights specialist Philip Alston will do with his findings here.


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