Saturday 10 October 2020


When 12yr old Zak Hijazi heard that Aberdeen Trades Union Council was taking part in Challenge Poverty Week, he set about designing a graphic to support it. What he produced - as you can see below -was a powerful image and message! His reason for doing it - in his own words, ”Poverty is a crime caused by our governments”. 

Throughout this week, ATUC has been posting information that demonstrates just how right Zak is in his assessment.

On Nov 16, 2018, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Prof Philip Alston commented in his investigation of poverty in the UK, “Poverty is a political choice. Austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so.” 

A damning statement to be made about the (at that time) world’s fifth largest economy. Rather than move swiftly to rectify the situation, the government dismissed the report as “barely believable” and ignored the findings.

Two years on, the Covid pandemic has tragically shown the result of that callous response, as the results of years of chronic underfunding of vital public sectors have been laid bare. This is what happens when looking after people - especially the vulnerable - is seen as less important than big business and shareholder dividends.

As we plan our economic recovery, we must redesign our economy to reflect the values of justice and compassion we all share.

Poverty is indeed a political choice; it's up to us to change the narrative, and make sure the right choices get made!