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27 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

UK coronavirus response “utterly hypocritical“ after decade of austerity, UN poverty expert says

By Samuel Horti

The UK government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been branded “utterly hypocritical” by Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has said, who warned that a decade of austerity “cannot and will not be undone”.

Alston last week accused world leaders of “social Darwinism” over their response to the pandemic, and yesterday singled out the UK for criticism. “As for the UK, my thoughts of course hark back to the sense of how utterly hypocritical it is now to abandon ‘austerity’ with such alacrity, after all the harm and misery caused to individuals and the fatal weakening of the community’s capacity to cope and respond over the past 10 years,” he told the Guardian.

“And of course, many of the worst and most damaging aspects of ‘austerity’ cannot and will not be undone. The damage caused to community cohesion and to the social infrastructure are likely to prove permanent.”

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