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Evidence to UN highlights extreme poverty in UK

The eminent international human rights lawyer called for submissions from anyone in the UK to establish “the most significant human rights violations experienced by people living in poverty and extreme poverty in the UK”. He is interested in the impact of austerity, universal credit, the advent of computer algorithms making decisions on welfare matters, and Brexit.

Alexander Tiffin, a 30-year old from the Scottish Highlands, sent a diary of his life on universal credit to Prof Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, who is coming to Britain in November.

He will also consider how Brexit might affect people living in poverty. Alston defines extreme poverty as “a lack of income, a lack of access to basic services, and social exclusion”.

Anyone taking part has been asked to set out in no more than 2,500 words what is happening, where he should go and what he should look at. He has set a deadline of 14 September for submissions and academics, thinktanks and charities are among those drafting responses.

The visit is set to be politically controversial. Alston conducted a similar exercise in the US earlier this year, which resulted in public clashes with the Trump administration. In the UK, he wants to know “to what extent austerity has been necessary” and its impact on public services including police, firefighting and libraries.

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