THE cruel reality of Conservative ruled Britain has been revealed in a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which has found that 3.8 million people, including 1 million children, in the UK experienced destitution in the past year.

Destitution is defined as being unable to meet essential food, clothing, energy and hygiene costs, to remain warm, dry, clean and fed.

There is now an epidemic of destitution in the UK, whose rulers still like to boast possesses one of the wealthiest economies in the world.

In a rich country, the proliferation of destitution is not merely an unfortunate accident.

It is not a product of feckless people making wrong choices as many on the right would have us believe.

In a wealthy and developed economy, soaring levels of destitution are a product of deliberate policy choices, choices made by the Westminster government, which has control of macroeconomic policy decisions.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf holds back tears during statement about family stuck in Gaza

What we are now seeing are the consequences of decades of Conservative rule which has consistently acted on the carrot and stick principle in order to promote economic growth and active participation in the economy. But it's only the rich who get the carrots, the poor and low paid are ruthlessly beaten with the stick.

Half of the affected households were left struggling to survive on less than £85 per week after housing costs.

One quarter of households affected by destitution reported having no income at all, many of these will have become victims of sanctions in the punitive, deliberately cruel and often capricious benefits system, which is a lasting legacy of the Conservatives and a totem of their shameful rule.

It's a system which the Labour party will not improve in any meaningful way.

A commitment to performative cruelty at the expense of the poor has become entrenched in both the main parties of British nationalism.

In a compassionate society which valued human life, there would be universal outrage at the news that almost four million citizens had been reduced to destitution by a government which at the same time has presided over record profits for large companies and soaring executive pay.

READ MORE: Scotland has 'lowest rise’ in destitution levels in UK

The average pay of company bosses is now 118 times that of the average UK worker, compared with 108 times in 2021 and 79 times in 2020 according to research from the High Pay Centre.

Even now Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering a tax cut for the 5 million highest earners, reducing stamp duty and cutting inheritance tax in an attempt to ease the pressure on his leadership after recent by-election defeat. Clearly, he hopes that this will avert the looming threat of electoral annihilation which the Tories are deservedly facing at the next General Election.

In the UK, there is no money to keep 1 million children out of destitution, but money can always be found to give more cash to those who are already wealthy.

Although rates of destitution are rising everywhere in the UK over the period 2019 to 2022, the study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that Scotland had by far the lowest rise in the number of people suffering from destitution.

The report found Scotland’s position had improved with respect to other areas of the UK "with by far the lowest increase since 2019".

READ MORE: MSPs back free bus travel for asylum seekers in Scotland

The report noted: "This may be indicative of the growing divergence in welfare benefits policies in Scotland, notably the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment."

The reports calls on the UK Government to introduce an "Essentials Guarantee" into Universal Credit payments, in order to ensure that the basic amount people receive can cover all basic needs "such as food, energy, toiletries and cleaning products”. Doing this “would have a significant impact on destitution."

However, we know this isn't going to happen.

The Conservatives are quite content to implement economic policies which foster growing destitution while benefiting the better off because they know that destitute people don't tend to vote Tory.

The crime of collective punishment in Gaza

Rishi Sunak has rejected arguments made in the House of Commons by SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn that the Israeli government is perpetrating war crimes with its collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza in retaliation for the attacks carried out by Hamas on Israeli civilians, actions which are in breach of the Geneva Convention.

The death toll in Gaza has now approaching 5800, over 2350 of whom are children, according to the Health Ministry in the territory, and will continue to rise even higher as the bombardment and blockade of one of the most densely populated territories in the world.

The people have nowhere to go.

Israel has called on Palestinians to evacuate the northern parts of the Gaza Strip and to move further south towards the Egyptian border, but there are confirmed reports of Israeli attacks on civilian targets in the south of Gaza.

Israel denies that it targets civilians, but it clearly does not trouble itself too much if civilians get in its way.

READ MORE: Momentum builds behind call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Meanwhile the British Government has rejected calls for the UK to provide shelter to innocent Palestinians fleeing the conflict.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Victoria Atkins suggested the UK Government's priority should be to "keep the pressure" on Hamas rather than open up a humanitarian route for Palestinian refugees to reach the UK.

Her remarks came after came after a number of organisations devised a list of measures they said the Government could implement, similar to those offered to Ukrainians including an emergency family reunion scheme and an emergency refugee protection visa for Israelis and Palestinians fleeing the violence.

The Refugee Council, Safe Passage International and Doctors of the World are among the charities which made the recommendation to the UK government.

The British Government, big on macho posturing, absent when it comes to compassion, empathy and humanity