Everyday Equality: Challenging Discrimination in Welfare Benefits

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Jo Chimes, Everyday Equality project lead, shares her thoughts on our recent conference, Everyday Equality: challenging discrimination in welfare benefits.

During our Everyday Equality conference in London on 10 May 2018,  we launched our online handbook Practical Equality Rights in Welfare Benefits Advice. At the event, we heard many brilliant insights about the challenges and opportunities of using equality rights in welfare benefits advice.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government green paper: Integrated Communities Strategy

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

We need to build the capacity of our leaders to promote and achieve integration outcomes. Do you agree?

This is from the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper (PDF), produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), in March 2018.

The Green Paper invites views through public consultation on the government’s proposals to realise our vision of a society where people of all backgrounds get on with each other.

The paper proposes:

Measures to support recent migrants so that they have the information they need to integrate into society and understand British values and their rights and responsibilities
Core integration measures for national and local government to focus on
Measures to ensure that all children and young people are prepared for life in modern Britain and have the opportunity for meaningful social mixing with those from different backgrounds.
MHCLG are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across local government, in the faith, voluntary, community and business sectors, and the general public.

The consultation will end on 5th June 2018.

Access the Government website to find out more about the consultation.

Read the Green Paper (PDF).

The Equality Trust manifestos: For a Fairer UK

‘The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world’ says the March 2018 Equality Trust manifesto.

Equality Trust have published their National, Local and Individual Manifestos designed to help people across the UK take action to reduce inequality. 

The manifestos states: 

We must protect and progress workers’ rights: strengthen trade union rights
and introduce employment rights from day one
We must explore the most effective ways of distributing wealth fairly and
efficiently: establish an independent Commission on Wealth
We must end child poverty: reinstate child poverty targets and commit to
eliminating child poverty
We must tackle our housing crisis: establish a large scale house building
programme, prioritising social housing and truly affordable housing,
built to high quality and environmentally friendly standards. 
Find out more about the Equality Trust’s manifestos. 

Read the manifesto in full (pdf).

Equality and Human Rights Commission report: The Cumulative Impact of Tax and Welfare Reforms

‘The impact of changes to direct taxes and benefits is to reduce the income of
Bangladeshi households by around £4,400 per year on average’.

Four months after releasing their 2017 interim report, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have published their final cumulative impact assessment (pdf), in March 2018.

The report exposes how much individuals and households are expected to gain or lose, and how many adults and children will fall below an adequate standard of living, as a result of recent changes to taxes and social security.

The report finds:

Negative impacts are particularly large for households with more disabled members, and individuals with more severe disabilities, as well as for lone parents on low incomes
For some family types, these losses represent over 13% of average net income
At an individual level, women lose on average considerably more from changes to direct taxes and benefits than men
Lone parents in the bottom fifth of the household income distribution lose around 25% of their net income, on average
Around 1.5 million more children are forecast to be living in households below the relative poverty line as a result of the reforms.
EDF and a number of our members have contributed to the development of this important research.

Read the full report (pdf).

Scottish Human Rights Commission report: Building a Human Rights Culture in Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission logo.

Human rights belong to everyone. We all have rights regardless of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age, income, gender, country of birth or belief.

This is from the February 2018 report from the Scottish Human Rights Commission on building a human rights culture in Scotland.

The research tested and identified the impact of different types of messages on people’s attitudes towards human rights

The report finds:

Demographic groups of women and 16-24 year olds were most likely to become more supportive and engaged with human rights when exposed to key human rights messages
When talking about human rights, organisations involved in human rights secured the greatest levels of trust amongst all those surveyed, with 58% of participants saying they would trust them a great deal or fair amount.
This compares to 17% for a famous singer, actor, sportsperson or musician who is well known for caring about human rights
Different spokespeople affected the impact of messages. For example across all those surveyed, a disability rights campaigner has more impact than the Chair of the National Human Rights Institution when discussing disability rights.
Read the full report (pdf).

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report: Migration to the European Union – Five Persistent Challenges

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

‘Asylum-seeking children in several EU Member States had no or limited access to education’, says a February 2019 report (pdf) from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

Building on the findings of their October 2016 report (pdf), this report presents the most pressing fundamental rights concerns between October 2016 and December 2017.

The report finds:

Legal and practical obstacles to accessing legal aid, information and interpretation existed in all EU Member States covered
Sexual and gender-based violence in reception centres remains an issue in some EU Member States
Police and border guards reportedly ill-treated migrants, particularly on the Western Balkan route, and in Spain in certain locations.
Read the full report (pdf).

House of Commons Library briefing paper: Rough sleeping (England)

The House of Commons logo.

‘Relationship breakdown is the largest single trigger of rough sleeping, leading to 42% of male rough sleeping’.

This is according to the February 2018 briefing paper (pdf) from the House of Commons Library. This paper provides background information on the problem of rough sleeping in England, and outlines Government policy on this issue.

The paper finds:

The most recent statistics published on 25 January 2018 recorded a 169% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in England since 2010
Among women, 35% slept rough after leaving home to escape domestic violence
Rough sleeping is at its most severe in London.
Read the full report (pdf).

Human Rights Watch report: World Report 2018

Human Rights logo

Despite allegations of serious abuse in immigration detention centers, the UK
persisted in not imposing a maximum time limit for immigration detention, and
continued to detain asylum-seeking and migrant children.

This is from the January 2018 report (pdf) from the Human Rights Watch (HRW). World Report 2018 is their 28th annual review of human rights
practices around the globe.

The report summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2016 through November 2017. 

The report finds: 

Germany over the past year made headlines when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter its parliament in decades
Despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, Australia has serious unresolved human rights problems. Australia continued in 2017 to hold asylum seekers who arrived by boat on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the island nation of Nauru, where conditions are abysmal
Bahrain’s human rights situation continued to worsen in 2017. Authorities shut down the country’s only independent newspaper and the leading secular-left opposition political society. 
In Bangladesh, civil society groups faced pressure from both state and non-state actors, including death threats and attacks from extremist groups.

Read the full report (pdf).