Controversial Mr Alston published a report on his so-called “human rights fact-finding visit” to Britain, in which he called 14million Britons – one fifth of the population – “poor”, adding that “British compassion has been replaced by a mean and callous approach”. He also said 1.5million Britons are destitute because they cannot afford the basic everyday essentials, before saying the worst affected in Britain are asylum seekers, migrants, the disables and pensioners. The Aussie lawyer blamed the Conservative government and said they chose to inflict “great misery” on the UK and a “social calamity and economic disaster” which is now “entrenching” poverty.
He said: “British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach apparently designed to instil discipline where it is least useful.”
He also blasted Brexit and said the process of Britain leaving the EU will make the UK poorer and said ministers are “in denial and don’t see any problems”.
In a London press conference today, he also said Britain’s two-child only benefits system is “in the same ball park” as China’s one-child policy, which after its abolishment in 2015 saw 500million abortions and sterilisations.
He said: “China’s one child policy – this is in the same ball park. That poor people mustn’t have more than two children and if they do the rest will suffer. It’s a perfect way to punish families.”
In an extraordinary rant against the UK, he also accused Britain of breaching UN human rights rules over Universal Credit, adding the proposal to make single payments to families could give “control to a financially or physically abusive partner”.
He said: “If you got a group of misogynists in a room and said how can we make this system work for men and not for women they would not have come up with too many ideas that are not already in place.”
Mr Alston’s tour of the UK has been blasted, with critics saying the UN should focus studies on poverty in third world countries and not the UK, which is the world’s fifth largest economy.
In his tour , he visited London, Bristol, Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Jaywick.
In his scathing attack he added at the conference today: “The government could solve this, the money is there, but they choose not to”.
In response to Mr Alston’s report, a Government spokesman said: “We completely disagree with this analysis. With this Government’s changes, household incomes have never been higher, income inequality has fallen, the number of children living in workless households is at a record low and there are now one million fewer people living in absolute poverty compared with 2010.
“Universal Credit is supporting people into work faster, but we are listening to feedback and have made numerous improvements to the system including ensuring 2.4 million households will be up to £630 better off a year as a result of raising the work allowance.”
He added: “We are absolutely committed to helping people improve their lives while providing the right support for those who need it.”
David Gordon, director of the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, added: “There’s an oddity to this, obviously.
“When you think of the special rapporteurs on extreme poverty and human rights, you expect them to be visiting sub-Saharan Africa or Haiti. You don’t expect them to be visiting the UK.”
Earlier in the year, Mr Alston sparked criticisms after he slammed Britain’s immigration policy.
The UN today refused to reveal how much New York-based Mr Alston’s two-week trip cost.
In 2013, the UN hit headlines after one of their officials, Raquel Rolnik, condemned Britain’s housing policy after staying in a plush £300-a-night hotel near Buckingham Palace.