Like many other countries, the UK has voluntarily subscribed to a number of international treaties that say that everyone living in the country is entitled to the right to adequate housing, the right to health, the right to social security and other socio-economic rights.

But unlike other countries, by and large these rights have not been incorporated in domestic law, which means that people living in the UK do not have an effective legal way to claim their rights. The UK is an outlier.

That's why we have launched this consultation on an Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Bill that we've developed together with colleagues from other universities and from civil society. It's the first stage in a process that we hope will eventually end in such a bill being introduced in Parliament.

Here are some questions we think it would be good to know the views of organisations and individuals about.

But please feel free to let us know what you think about any of the matters an Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Bill raises.

  • Should the UK put its international obligations on economic, social and cultural rights into domestic law as human rights?
  • If not, why not?
  • If so, should this be done on a UK or on a devolved basis?
  • Are there any rights listed in Schedule 1 of the Bill which you think should definitely be included, or definitely not included?
  • Do you have any suggestions for how any of the rights should be formulated?
  • Do you think that any of the provisions of the Bill don’t go far enough, or go too far?
  • Do you think that the Bill should follow the Human Rights Act 1998 as closely as possible?
  • In what ways, if any, do you think the Bill should differ from the Human Rights Act 1998?
  • In your opinion, what laws or policies of recent years would have been contrary to an ESCR Bill?

Consultation document PDF 432Kb

Send responses to by 14 July 2019

Bill PDF 530Kb

With footnotes

Bill PDF 339Kb

Without footnotes

Explanatory Notes PDF 469Kb

Explanatory Notes

The Rights PDF 83Kb

On one page

Reference material

The Rights: Background information PDF 755Kb

This document provides more information on economic, social and cultural rights, right by right.

Table 1 ESC violations PDF 175Kb

This and the following tables summarise the latest conclusions of the European Social Charter’s independent monitoring body, the European Committee of Social Rights, by category of conclusion (violation, compliance, compliance pending further information and deferred conclusion).

The UK’s violations of the 1961 European Social Charter (31).

Table 2 ESC compliance PDF 101Kb

The UK’s obligations under the 1961 European Social Charter with which it complies (8).

Table 3 ESC compliance pending further info PDF 144Kb

The UK’s obligations under the 1961 European Social Charter with which it complies pending receipt by the European Committee of Social Rights of further information requested (20).

Table 4 ESC deferred conclusions PDF 126Kb

The UK’s obligations under the 1961 European Social Charter where the European Committee of Social Rights has deferred its conclusions on compliance (7).

Struggles for Human Rights in Britain: A Reading List PDF 88Kb

This reading list has been compiled by Dr Rachel Hammersley, Senior Lecturer in Intellectual History, Newcastle University.

Alastair Bonnett, Professor of Social Geography at Newcastle University, also suggests two additional readings in relation to Thomas Spence, the 19th century radical born in Newcastle: 

Bonnett, A. The Other Rights of Man: The Revolutionary Plan of Thomas Spence. History Today, September 2007, pp. 42-48

Spence, T. The Rights of Infants [first published 1797]. In: Gallop G. Pigs' Meat: Selected Writings of Thomas Spence, Radical And Pioneer Land Reformer. Spokesman Books, 1982"

Recommendations for a new human rights framework to improve people’s lives PDF 2,222Kb

This is a report to the Scottish First Minister by her Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership, December 2018.