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In modern Britain, hunger has become normal. That is an outrage

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That the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty, along with researchers from a global human rights organisation, had to come to my home city, one of the most affluent in the world, is a source of profound shame. Now the UK government has been accused of breaching its international duty to keep people from hunger by pursuing “cruel and harmful policies” with no regard for the impact on children living in poverty.

Human Rights Watch’s researchers have been examining food poverty in Hull, Cambridge and Oxford, where I’m a councillor in a ward where hunger is affecting increasing numbers of children and families, as it is across the country.

The report is a damming indictment of the state of Britain, this government and its cruel and devastating austerity programme. That hunger is a daily lived reality for increasing numbers of children and adults, in one of the richest countries in the world should be a badge of shame and a call to take urgent action. Horrifyingly though, it feels as if hunger and poverty, like homelessness, are becoming daily more normalised as the welfare state is decimated by the government.

HRW’s dossier on hunger has been issued two days ahead of the release of the final report on poverty in the UK by Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty. His interim findings were released in November and since then the government has been pouring cold water on Alston’s findings, denying that poverty – and specifically hunger – are now an increasing reality for more and more adults and children.


© The Guardian