News

30.06.16

UN ‘seriously concerned’ about human rights impact of austerity

The UN has recommended that the UK government conducts a review of the impact of austerity measures on human rights.

In its first report on the UK’s adherence to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural since 2009, the UN investigative committee said: “The Committee is seriously concerned about the disproportionate adverse impact that austerity measures, introduced since 2010, are having on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups.”

It recommends that the UK government carries out a comprehensive assessment of the impact of all policies since 2010, especially on women, children and people with disabilities.

It reminds the UK government that austerity measures “must be temporary, necessary, proportionate, and not discriminatory.”

It also raises concerns about the human rights impact of benefits reforms, saying the government should reverse the cuts in social security benefits introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, restore links between state benefits and the cost of living and review benefits sanctions.

The UN recommends that the government carries out a human rights assessment of the impact of fiscal policy, including increases on the inheritance tax limit and VAT, reductions on corporate tax and difficulties prosecuting tax avoiders, on state efforts to address social inequality.

In addition, it recommends a review of the new Trade Union Act and that the government allows asylum seekers to work.

Other human rights concerns raised in the UK include cuts to legal aid, lack of representation of women in senior public and private sector roles, higher unemployment amongst young people from ethnic minorities and with disabilities, and increasing homelessness figures.

Jamie Burton, chair of the charity Just Fair, which contributed to the review, said: “The UN’s verdict is clear and indisputable. It considered extensive evidence and gave the government every opportunity to show why its tax and policy reforms were necessary and fair.  In many important respects the government proved unable to do this.

“It is clear that since 2010, ministers were fully aware that their policies would hit lower income groups hardest and deepen the suffering of many already facing disadvantage without offering any long term gain for the pain they inflicted.  We urge the government to take heed of the Committee’s recommendations and commit to ensuring that it does not diminish human rights further in the UK.” 

Just Fair, a consortium representing charities including Save the Children, Amnesty International and Unison, has previously accused the UK of breaching its UN human rights obligation to provide people with adequate homes owing to the housing crisis.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has also begun its periodic review of the UK’s human rights performance, and has promised to consider issues including the human rights impact of the tax credit cap, which contains a clause stating that women with more than two children can only continue to receive credits if they have can prove that the third child was conceived as a result of rape.

PSE contacted the government for a statement but it did not respond at the time of publication.

(Image c. UN)

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News

comment

Introducing the Facilities Management Marketplace

14/12/2017Introducing the Facilities Management Marketplace

The new Facilities Management (FM) Marketplace will be an opportunity to st... more >
Meet Pepper, the social care robot

14/12/2017Meet Pepper, the social care robot

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has become the country’s first local ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

interviews

Are we taking a risk on education?

14/12/2017Are we taking a risk on education?

Adrian Prandle, director of economic strategy and negotiations at the Natio... more >

the raven's daily blog

Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

11/12/2017Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

Jen Rae, head of innovation policy at Nesta, says the aims in the government’s new Industrial Strategy are ambitious, but will require a shift in policymaking in order t... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar

back

December 2017

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

featured articles

View all News