UN human rights expert says UK cuts to services causing harm

LONDON (AP) — A U.N. human rights expert says cuts to Britain's social support are causing misery for poorer citizens.

Philip Alston, the U.N. rapporteur on poverty, concluded Friday that Britain's government remains in a state of denial about the impact of benefit cuts and says the country's departure from the European Union could make things worse should the economy weaken as expected.

Alston says "government policies have inflicted great misery unnecessarily" on the working poor, single mothers, the disabled and children.

The U.K. government enacted spending cuts in welfare as part of austerity programs to balance the books after the 2008 financial crisis.

Real terms funding for the Department of Work and Pensions, which oversees welfare, is expected to fall more than 40 percent from pre-crisis levels by 2020.