Tackling poverty and inequality

Call for radical action from UK Government after damning independent report.

The Scottish Government is calling on the UK Government to make radical changes to tackle poverty and inequality in the UK.

In its full response to the final report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, the Scottish Government welcomes his findings and agrees with his assessment that UK Government policies have led to the “systematic immiseration” of a significant part of the UK population, meaning they had continually “put people further into poverty”.

However, Professor Philip Alston praised Scotland’s “ambitious” schemes for addressing poverty, including the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan and noted Scotland’s “promising social security system, guided by the principles of dignity and social security as a human right, and co-designed with claimants on the basis of evidence”.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“As our response to the Special Rapporteur’s report shows, in Scotland alone UK Government welfare cuts are expected to lead to an annual reduction in social security spending of £3.7 billion in 2020-21.

“The Special Rapporteur notes that the Scottish Government has invested ‘considerable resources’ to protect people and that this is ‘simply not sustainable’. We agree that we should not have to invest funds to protect against the actions of another government. This is money we could otherwise invest to lift people out of poverty.

“The UK Government must pay attention to the UN along with the wealth of evidence that is showing its policies are failing people. Instead of complaining that they don’t like the report, they should now change tack and reverse their harmful policies.”


The Scottish Government can’t issue a formal reply to the UNSR’s final report on extreme poverty and human rights as Scotland is not a UN member state. However, it has published a full statement online and did contribute to the UK Government’s official response.

A separate position statement enables the Scottish Government to set out fully the work being undertaken in Scotland to make progress on human rights obligations and to highlight where there is agreement on the impact of UK Government policies. A word limit set by the UN for state party submissions means the UK Government has limited space to cover all parts of the UK and overseas territories.

Full statement here


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