Readers respond after the UN poverty envoy said austerity has inflicted ‘great misery’ on UK citizens
The UN envoy’s visit and report concluding that “Austerity has inflicted misery on people” (Report, 17 November) could not be more important. His confirmation that poverty and humiliation has been heaped upon millions of vulnerable men, women and children by this government has to be a spur to action for us all. As Philip Alston said with great clarity, “in the UK poverty is a political choice”. A deeply shameful one. For once, someone listened to those who are struggling to survive and care for children without homes, healthcare or an income. After all, a personal or health crisis can plunge anyone into poverty.
We can all get caught up in the demands, distractions and problems of our everyday lives (including Brexit), but this reflects on our humanity and it is to our shame if every one of us does not continue to fight against these punitive policies with every fibre of our being. Rising destitution and a generation of children suffering deprivation must never become the new normal. Food banks and practical help are essential in the short term, but we have to achieve change and constantly reject government rhetoric denying the devastating impact of austerity policies and denigrating vulnerable people as “undeserving”. All this while tax cuts are given to the rich. None of us can stand by.