CHURCH and community leaders say that the poverty in the UK revealed by a report by a UN official can be seen on the streets of Ludlow.

Neil Richardson is chair of the Ludlow under Pressure group and a former head of the Methodist Church in the UK.

He has described the level of inequality in the UK as ‘obscene.’

“The UN report chimes in with what a number of us have observed and thought for several years now about the state of Britain,” said the Rev Richardson.

“It’s hardly too much to say that levels of inequality in the UK are now obscene. There is a serious danger that those of us in relative comfort get used to it or simply ignore it. But it’s obvious locally.”

The Rev Richardson says that there is plenty of evidence in Ludlow and surrounding areas.

Ruth Davies from Ludlow Food Bank reports that it is needed more than ever - this year’s the highest ever usage - largely due to the failures in the roll-out of Universal Credit - and its frequent inadequacy when it is rolled out.

The Borders’ Agricultural Chaplaincy reports serious deprivation in the farming community and have grave worries about the effects of Brexit.

“We know of young people in the town who don’t get enough to eat on a regular basis,” the Rev Richardson added.

“I could go on: youth work in the town is nearly at an end; the lack of social and affordable housing continues.

“We must continue to do all we can to alleviate these situations - and to protest until government policy changes.”

The report that put the UK Government to shame was from Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

His report was condemning:

“The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth, its capital is a leading centre of global finance, its entrepreneurs are innovative and agile, and despite the current political turmoil, it has a system of government that rightly remains the envy of much of the world.

“It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty.

“This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair.”