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Philip Alston gave a verbal report on his preliminary findings last Friday but it seems no Conservative politician can recognise him.

We all know what happened: UN poverty rapporteur Philip Alston said Tory government policies were worsening the lives of millions of people – but the tragedy could be reversed cheaply if we had a government with the political will to do so.

And we all know what happened next: Conservative ministers lined up to tell us they don’t recognise Professor Alston or his findings. Strange, when you think they were only discussing those findings with him a few days previously!

Some people think this impasse can be broken by petitioning the government to accept that Professor Alston has a point.

It’s a long shot – the Tories tend to find excuses to ignore any petitions they don’t like.

But it’s worth a try, and thousands of people have signed already.

The petition is here and the text runs like this:

“We demand that government fully and publicly accept the 2018 United Nations Alston preliminary report on UK poverty and act on any United Nations recommendations or resolutions as a result of the full report when it is produced.

“The preliminary report was damning about the current welfare system and government welfare policy, austerity and in particular Universal Credit.”

[It states:] “‘Universal Credit and the other far-reaching changes to the role of government in supporting people in distress are almost always ‘sold’ as being part of an unavoidable program of fiscal ‘austerity’, needed to save the country from bankruptcy. In fact, however, the reforms have almost certainly COST THE COUNTRY FAR MORE THAN THEIR PROPONENTS WILL ADMIT.’

“The full report is due to be completed and released in the summer of next year but this petition intends to make sure this government does not forget the report’s initial findings.

“United Against Universal Credit then plans to make sure the full report is fully exposed to the general public so that this government acts on any recommendations contained within it or acts to improve upon the misgivings it finds within it.”

The petition has had more than 7,000 signatures in four days.

Please add yours.

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