The new Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has blasted UN rapporteur Philip Alston’s damming report on poverty, saying that the “political nature” of the language used in the report was “wholly inappropriate,” and “discredited” the report.
MP Margaret Greenwood asked if the report would result in a halt of the Universal Credit rollout given Alston’s assertions in the report that the Conservatives’ benefits policies are plunging claimants into misery, adding that many of the worst policies which are the most harmful to claimants could be changed overnight with very little cost.
Rudd responded that having read the report over the weekend, she was “disappointed, to say the least, by the extraordinary political nature of [Alston’s] language.”
“We on this side of the House will always engage with professionals, with experts, with NGOs,” Rudd continued. “We are not so proud that we don’t think we can learn as we try to adjust the Universal Credit for the benefit of everybody.
“But that sort of language was wholly inappropriate and actually discredited a lot of what he was saying.
“We look forward to working with experts in the area to make sure that we get the right outcome for the people who we want to look after.
Rudd’s statements were met with boos and outraged laughter from the opposition’s bench, with Marsha de Cordova taking to Twitter to condemn Rudd.
“That the Tories have the audacity to ‘dismiss’ the findings of the UN report on extreme poverty is shocking,” she wrote.
“Dismissing the integrity of UN findings on issues as important as these is shameful. Amber Rudd has proved in the first minutes in her new job that she will do as she has done before – entrench a hostile environment for marginalised groups.
“The Conservatives have dismissed the UN’s conclusions on poverty in the UK as ‘politically motivated.’ They have shirked responsibility once again for policies that are devastating disabled people.
“Poverty is a political choice and they cannot hide it.”Get your copy of UNITE Magazine