The recent UN report on poverty in the UK was highly critical of the government’s austerity agenda: “British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited and callous approach …”
The report’s conclusions were informed by various visits and discussions, including a visit to the wonderful Bollo Brook Youth Centre in Ealing where he spoke to young people about their experiences and views on such issues as overcrowded housing, university fees, mental health, institutional racism, and the importance of youth clubs.
It was good to see a mention of youth centres in the report itself:
“The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth... It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. ... Libraries have closed in record numbers, community and youth centers have been shrunk and underfunded, public spaces and buildings including parks and recreation centers have been sold off.”
The report concludes,
“As the country moves toward Brexit, the Government should adopt policies designed to ensure that the brunt of the resulting economic burden is not borne by its most vulnerable citizens.”
Well worth a read, and good to see policy makers visiting youth clubs and really listening to young people’s views.