By Gina Ravens And Helen Sims
Olivier De Schutter is the UN’ s rapporteur on the right to food. The UK is the 7th wealthiest country in the world. If all in the garden was lovely, their paths might never cross.
However, Dr Schutter is applying some interest in what is happening here, – the connection between the proliferation of food banks, and the growth of child poverty.
The Children’s charity Bernardo’s has stated that 3.6 million children in the UK are living in poverty. That’s almost a third of all children in the UK. Furthermore, 1.6 million of those children are said to live in severe poverty.
Bernardo’s also reveals that 58 percent of child poverty occurs in a household where someone is employed. We don’t think this will be news to Oliver De Schutter!
He moves on to state that a country as wealthy as ours should not be relying on food banks to salve their conscience.
We think he has discovered something we already know here – our Coalition Government has no conscience!
Mr De Schutter further states that the people in this country have a human right to food, and that the indicators he is observing show that this Government are using Austerity measures to set a level of pay that is too low, and that plainly, this contravenes the human rights of people in this country.
Our level of social poverty, (when examined in conjunction with the level of employment), and the fact that so many now only able to achieve part-time employment at that, are commensurate with a Government whose policies have hugely unequal effects upon society.
The knock on effect is that many who survive this Government will be suffering a backlash of health problems that will further engulf our economy in about 15 to 20 years time.
Cameron has said that benefits are at a level that nobody should be hungry with, and we are supposed to believe that food banks are only there to ‘top people up’ with some extras if they are feeling a bit peckish?
The Government have invited De Schutter here to see for himself. We can imagine the ‘snow job’ they would want to set up for him, though it seems he is something of a smart cookie who knows his job.
We can see him being steered away from areas where deprivation shows. I also believe the invitation is about their wanting any kind of inspection to take place before the bedroom tax comes into force in April, and not after.
If that is not the case, the timing of this invitation certainly seems very convenient!
We believe the entire austerity package is about the Tory agenda for enriching the wealthy at the cost of the poor, disabled and the poor are as surplus to requirements. The ‘Survival of the Fittest’ definitely seems to be in place.
Those that are not fit, need support and cannot contribute to our struggling economy have been vilified, victimised and effectively cast aside by government – and seemingly my society itself. It’s a sad state of affairs for a supposedly enlightened, compassionate, first world country.
We cannot see this Government being deterred by the accusation of a few human rights abuses. After all, they have waved such things off before, without their consciences bothering them.
Above all else, they are approaching 2015 with an air of finality about their dubious accomplishments. The rich will be richer, everything that can be sold, will be sold, and oh, how their pockets and bank balances will jingle happily!
The economy will have been so tanked that it will scarcely be possible to nationalise anything without it creating an economic imbalance, and the poor and disabled will be dead, dying, or living on a pittance.
The only thing that could possibly prevent this from occurring would be human rights challenges from Europe.
Inviting an inspection is their way of saying “We have nothing to hide”, a bluff we sincerely hope they get called on.
If it should come to greater challenges or examination, we could see this Government breaking away from Europe in an attempt to escape accountability from the EU.
Their actions would suggest that they are not concerned by the results of their policies upon the poorest.
Are we really “all in this together”, as the mantra coming from the coalition claims? As De Schutter observes, the poor and the children should not be in this at all.
For a superb guide to stock Government phrases and methods of twisting the truth, please see:
A large number of people will be watching with great interest where these statements from Mr Schutter lead, and those on the front-line of tackling poverty in the UK will be praying for action to force the government to think again about some of its policies.
Gina Ravens And Helen Sims