Goal of 'no poverty' in UK a remote possibility without urgent action

03 July 2018

Demand for foodbanks and crisis funds will continue to rise as the UK Government shows a disregard for the realities of poverty, according to a new report which tracks the country’s progress towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs)

Professor John McKendrick, of Glasgow Caledonian University, said the goal of "no poverty" in the UK by 2030 is a remote possibility without a significant change in policy direction at Westminster.

The prediction features in an analysis of poverty for Measuring Up, the first review of the UK’s performance against the UN’s 17 SDGs.

More than 100 organisations, including businesses, charities, academia, trade unions, professional associations and government agencies, have taken part in the report, which warns there is a significant risk of the quality of life in the UK getting worse without urgent action being taken.

Professor McKendrick, co-founder of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "The manner in which new provisions have been introduced, for example, the back-payment cycles for Universal Credit creating short-term vulnerabilities, has shown a disregard for the realities of life for those with least resource.

"Foodbanks are becoming a necessary part of the landscape of social support. Demand on crisis funds and welfare advice is increasing.

"The direction of travel for the UK Government seems to be against that which might be pursued to achieve the SDG1 goal of ‘ending poverty’.

“Unless the UK takes a different tack, everyday life for its most financially challenged will continue to become more stressed and the prospect of achieving sustainable development goal 1 – conceived as a national indicator of income poverty – is a remote possibility.”

Measuring Up looks at each of the UN’s SDGs and 169 targets and uses both existing public policy and published data to understand the UK’s performance.

GCU is the only university in the world to base its research strategy on the 17 sustainable development goals.

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