“This is the worst time to impose such cuts. You do not impose austerity measures when the whole population is facing a cost of living crisis”, he told The Guardian newspaper.
According to de Schutter, the right thing to do in these circumstances is instead to raise taxes on the wealthiest people and corporations, maintain the energy relief package for households, and aligning social benefits or minimum wages with the increased costs of living.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government is scheduled to present its autumn budget on November 17th, which is expected to include a tax hike for all Britons and a cut in public spending, with the aim of covering a financial deficit of around 40 billion pounds sterling.
Sunak, who replaced Liz Truss in office last week, promised to amend the financial chaos generated by his predecessor’s controversial tax plan, but warned that he will have to make tough decisions to do so.
In the opinion of the UN special rapporteur, the new austerity measures that Sunak is believed to apply will force many British families to reduce quality of the diet, and even the quantity of food they eat. “For children, learning is more difficult when you have an empty stomach and that is becoming a reality in the UK. That should not be allowed to happen”, he said.
According to The Guardian, which cited data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, around 14.5 million people in the UK – equivalent to 22 percent of the population – live in a relative poverty.