The UN has previously called on ministers to take more action to protect children’s rights in the wake of welfare cuts [Image: Christopher Thomond/the Guardian].

The UN has previously called on ministers to take more action to protect children’s rights in the wake of welfare cuts [Image: Christopher Thomond/the Guardian].

It is rumoured that the Scottish National Party may petition to be recognised as the UK’s official Opposition party today (Wednesday). There is a high possibility that the request will be granted.

This is the reason:

Yesterday (Tuesday), the United Nations published a damning report showing that the Conservative Government’s austerity policies breach the United Kingdom’s international human rights obligations.

This was a golden opportunity for the Labour Party – Her Majesty’s official Opposition party – to hold the Tory government to account for its actions – policies which have condemned vulnerable citizens to poverty, homelessness, and even death.

The Conservatives have been effectively rudderless since the EU referendum last week, and would have been a sitting target for a well-organised political attack.

But the Labour Party’s MPs were far too busy holding a contrived and pointless ‘no confidence’ vote against its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to do their duty.

The ‘no confidence’ vote was part of the attempted ‘Labour coup’ that has been planned by right-wingers in the Parliamentary party, most probably since Mr Corbyn was elected leader, in direct defiance of the will of the party’s membership.

For 172 Labour MPs, trying to shame Mr Corbyn into quitting (they cannot defeat him in a leadership election) was far more important than holding the Conservative Government to account and upholding the findings of the United Nations.

Not only have those MPs been derelict in their duty but they have also forced those who did not vote against Mr Corbyn to neglect that duty as well.

That is unforgiveable.

If the SNP does capitalise on the stupidity and selfishness of the Blairites, right-wingers and their followers, and gains the right to be called the official Opposition, This Writer could not object.

And if it does happen, one thing is certain in these twisted times:

Someone will try to blame Corbyn.

Now take a look at the wealth of ammunition the UN has provided us against the Conservative Government:

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has expressed “serious concern” about the impact of regressive policies on the enjoyment of economic and social rights in a damning report on the UK.

Based on evidence it received from Just Fair and other civil society groups, the Committee concludes that austerity measures and social security reform breach the UK’s international human rights obligations.

This was the Committee’s first review of the UK since 2009 and thus its first verdict on the Austerity policies pursued by successive governments since the financial crash. Over eight months the Committee conducted a dialogue with government officials, the UK human rights commissions and civil society groups.

In a wide ranging assessment, expressed in unusually strong terms, the Committee sets out the following findings:

  • Tax policies, including VAT increases and reductions in inheritance and corporation tax, have diminished the UK’s ability “to address persistent social inequality and to collect sufficient resources to achieve the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights”. The Committee recommends the UK adopt a “socially equitable” tax policy and the adoption of strict measures to tackle tax abuse, in particular by corporations and high-net-worth individuals.
  • Austerity measures introduced since 2010 are having a disproportionate adverse impact on the most marginalised and disadvantaged citizens including women, children, persons with disabilities, low-income families and those with two or more children. The Committee recommends that the UK reverse the cuts in social security benefits and reviews the use of sanctions.
  • The new ‘National Living Wage’ is not sufficient to ensure a decent standard of living and should be extended to under-25s. The UK should also take steps to reduce use of “zero hour contracts”, which disproportionately affect women.
  • Despite rising employment levels the Committee is concerned about the high number of low-paid jobs, especially in sectors such as cleaning and homecare.
  • The Committee urges the UK to take immediate measures to reduce the exceptionally high levels of homelessness, particularly in England and Northern Ireland, and highlights the high cost and poor quality of homes in the private rented sector and the lack of sufficient social housing.
  • The UK is not doing enough to reduce reliance on food banks.

Source: UK in breach of international human rights |

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