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Mark Blacklock @MarxMedia
, 19 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
UN special rapporteur @Alston_UNSR - who spent two weeks investigating UK #poverty at invitation of British govt - concludes that Tory ministers are "in denial" over the crisis caused by austerity, and their motivation is "an ideological one"
His report is a damning indictment: "All of the evidence that I've seen, not withstanding the claims of the DWP, is that sanctions are usually counter production". Calls it a "tonne of bricks approach" which is counter to basic human rights, traditional British sense of fairness
Philip Alston says the poor will also "bear the brunt" of the economic fallout from #Brexit
He attacks #universalcredit sanctions: "There are a number of characteristics of it which are particularly problematic and harsh - and more interestingly unnecessary and gratuitous" - plunging people into "a circle of despair"
"That should be changed immediately," he said.
Also says payments to single household was that it mostly puts men in control of household and even puts women at risk of domestic violence.
The digital-by-default system not working as anywhere near as smoothly as the government claims - and DWP welcomes that because less benefits likely to be paid.
He says the consequences for those who are sanctioned is "grim"
Philip Alston is live:
Re online service: "A welfare system cannot survive on algorithms alone"
"One of the things I feel most strongly about are the cuts in local authority budgets"
He says 49.9% cuts have reduced some councils to emergency cover - yet Treasury's attitude was a "totally mechanical economic analysis which is doing damage to the fabric of British community".
His concluded by saying that if a future DWP minister - or even a different government - wanted to: "the worst, harshest aspect of these policies could be changed overnight".
He spoke to about 40 MPs from all parties, who sd govt not listening: "Almost as one they said 'We spend all of our damn time in our constituency offices dealing with these welfare issues'. I think they [govt] must be getting the message, they're just not heeding it."
He said among biggest impact on mental health of benefit claimants is suicide - and said govt having to appoint a minister to deal with the issue was telling.
Tells @skwawkbox that the 5-12 week #universalcredit sanction could be changed overnight, and two-child policy is "in the same ballpark" as China's single child policy - a "perfect way to punish families";
He says Theresa May government's sanctions are "cruel and inhuman" and inconsistent with UK's #humanrights obligations.
The government is not able to be held into account in a meaningful way and doesn't hold itself to account" #poverty
Alston's grim prediction for the future: "Britain is headed towards an alienated society where you have pretty acute differences between the upper classes and the lower classes"
He said govt ministers seemed to care only about employment, and were "completely dismissive" of concerns over gig economy by saying it's only 3% of workforce - despite that representing about 1m people.
A major issue is "huge differential impacts between men and women" - particularly around lone parents, who are overwhelmingly women.
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