Councillor encourages city participation in UN’s UK poverty investigation

A Sheffield Labour Councillor is encouraging people and organisation across the city to contribute to a United Nations investigation into poverty and human rights in the UK.

The United Nations has appointed a Special Rapporteur to look specifically into the impact of austerity, Universal Credit, child poverty and future impacts of Brexit of poverty and human rights in the UK.

Prior to a scheduled visit in November, the Special Rapporteur has issued a call for written submissions to be made by anyone in the UK to establish “the most significant human rights violations experienced by people living in poverty and extreme poverty in the UK”.

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 15th September for submissions.

Councillor Ben Curran has written to more than 50 organisations in the city encouraging them to make a written submission to the United Nations investigation. He fears that the investigation could be dominated by think tank and academic reports instead of deep stories of the impact on individuals.

Ben Curran, Labour Councillor for Walkley, said:

“From service cuts to attacks on the welfare system, many people across the city are feeling the effects of the government’s austerity program. I see it every day in my work as a councillor. It is vital that the United Nations hear these voices too.”

“There is a real risk that this investigation becomes an academic exercise. The UN investigation is a real opportunity to get genuine voices from people affected by austerity or struggling in poverty to provide human insights behind the statistics. It’s important as many voices as possible submit their experiences of struggle because of the government’s austerity policies.”