Equality Impact Investing call for evidence

‘Despite growing social investment to tackle inequality, there is limited evidence that it has benefited the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector’.

This is from the Equality Impact Investing (EII) Project, which aims to better understand and improve the extent to which the UK social investment sector is tackling discrimination and advancing equality and human rights.

University of Loughborough and Law Society report: Priced out of Justice? Legal Aid Means Test

The Law Society logo

‘The legal aid means test is preventing families in poverty from accessing justice’ says a March 2018 report (PDF) from the University of Loughborough and Law Society. 

This report considers whether people required by the civil legal aid system to contribute to legal costs, based on their income and assets, can always afford to do so.

The report finds:

At the maximum level of disposable income at which legal aid is allowed, households have too little income to reach a minimum standard of living even before footing any legal bills. Typically, they have disposable incomes 10% to 30% too low to afford a minimum budget
Individuals with gross income above the £2,657 a month limit could generally afford to contribute a substantial amount to legal costs. However, some people with this level of gross income who are supporting families have incomes below the minimum, mainly because gross income includes tax credits and benefits, which contribute to meeting the cost of additional family members
Those with above £316 a month in adjusted disposable income may receive legal aid but must contribute to their costs. This excludes almost all households where anyone works, and is roughly equivalent to the level of means-tested benefits, whose recipients receive full legal aid regardless of income.
Read the full report (PDF). 

European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless report: Third Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe 2018

European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless logo

The profiles of homeless people are changing, with children becoming the largest group of people in emergency shelters as a result of a deterioration in the living conditions of extremely vulnerable families.

This from the March 2018 annual report (PDF) from the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)

This report reveals how millions of Europeans face housing exclusion on a daily basis as well as a dramatic picture of increasing homelessness across most of the EU – in particular amongst children, women and migrants.

The report finds:

In France, 20,845 people called the 115 homeless helpline requesting accommodation (in June 2017)
Dublin City Council spent € 39 million on hotel nights for homeless people in 2016, while € 10.7 million was spent on prevention and supported housing
In Britain, 29% of spending was on temporary accommodation and (44% of which was spent on hotels/Bed and Breakfast) and 61% on housing services (between 2015-2016)
Over the last number of years, only two European countries (Finland and Norway) have seen a reduction in the number of homeless people
Read the full report (PDF).

Migrant Rights Network guidance: Know Your Rights

Migrants Rights Network

As part of the School Census, schools are now required by the Department for Education to collect the nationality and country of birth of children aged 5 – 19.

This is from the March 2018 guidance from the Migrant Rights Network which aims to help migrants understand their rights and how to assert them in 8 key areas of everyday life.

This guide is to help all migrants living in the UK understand their rights in a situation where immigration rules are changing regularly.

The guidance finds:

Since 30 October 2017, banks and building societies have had to do immigration checks on all customers every 3 months. If they discover that you might be in the UK without permission they must tell the Home Office
Since 2014, the Driving and Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) is not allowed to give you a driving licence if you are not ‘lawfully resident’ in the UK. The DVLA does not have to let you know if they cancel your licence. This means you may not find out you are driving illegally until you are stopped by the police
Some schools have been asking to see children’s passports. This is against government guidance. Other schools have only asked for the nationality and country of birth of non-white children. This is discriminatory and therefore illegal.
Read the full guidance (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).

Global Justice Now briefing: The Hostile Environment for Immigrants

Global Justice Now

‘Banks have to check applicants’ immigration status before allowing them to open a bank account’.

This is according to the February 2018 briefing (pdf) from Global Justice Now on the hostile environment for immigrants. 

The briefing finds: 

The government is preventing people from accessing safe and secure housing by forcing landlords to carry out the work of immigration officers.
NHS staff are also being forced to demand upfront payment for treatment from people who cannot prove their immigration status
People in the UK without at least six months leave to remain cannot apply for a driving licence
Read the full report (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).