No wonder he thinks Britain is Dickensian! UN envoy who blasted ‘Victorian workhouse‘ conditions in the UK lives in this stunning £3m home in the Hamptons
UN envoy Philip Alston, who wrote the report on the UK based on a visit here lasting precisely 11 days
He claimed to have witnessed ‘Dickensian’ poverty during a fact-finding tour of Britain.
So envoy Philip Alston might well have been happy to go home – to his spectacular £3.1 million beachside property in America.
Here, a world away from ‘poor, brutish’ Britain, the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights lives in luxury in one of America’s most exclusive resorts.
Professor Alston’s report last week, following a visit to the UK at the end of last year, caused outrage, with the Government describing it as ‘barely believable’. Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd is considering complaining to the UN about its contents.
Prof Alston, 69, a law professor, said UK welfare policies had been designed to harm the poor and that life for many in the country risked becoming ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.
He wrote: ‘It might seem to some observers that the Department of Work and Pensions has been tasked with designing a digital and sanitized version of the 19th Century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens.’
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By stark contrast, there’s no expense spared at the home Prof Alston shares with his fellow law professor wife Grainne de Burca in The Hamptons in Long Island.
The couple, who also have an apartment in the trendy Greenwich Village district of New York, paid around £1,700,000 in November 2007 for its third-of-an-acre plot on a private road.
They demolished an existing house in 2011 and built a new four-bedroom house with three bathrooms. It has a first-floor kitchen, dining and living area with cathedral-style ceiling, a German-made mahogany floor, a fireplace and sliding windows opening on to a balcony.
Prof Alston put it on the market for around £3,140,000 in May 2017 and then offered it as a holiday rental in 2018, priced at £19,600 for two weeks. The estate agent details boasted: ‘Wraparound mahogany decks invite you to enjoy the spectacular natural surroundings.’
It is not known if the professor penned his controversial report while at his property.
Prof Alston, the John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law, is believed to have generated his wealth through academic appointments and by writing and editing books on human rights.
UN Special Rapporteur posts are unpaid but envoys are given expenses for their trips.
A UN spokesman declined to say how much Prof Alston’s visit to the UK cost.