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           Socioeconomic rights deserve legal protection
          Category:International Legal News  
          Subject:Safety Protections   ; System reform   ; People and society  
          Publish Date:12-09-2022

          Academics and lawyers on the new protected social rights proposed by Gordon Brown's Commission on the UK's Future
          The Commission on the UK's Future chaired by Gordon Brown (Think our plan to fix British politics is a pipe dream? Think again, 6 December) has recommended that there should be new, constitutionally protected social rights. This proposal is the latest in a growing consensus across the political landscape to protect the rights to housing, social security, food and other socioeconomic rights. It comes against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis, increasing child poverty, millions not being able to access adequate housing and woefully underresourced health and education systems.
          Every day, the socioeconomic rights of people across the UK are being routinely violated. Yet these rights, which the UK government is obliged to implement under various international treaties, are totally absent from existing domestic legislative arrangements.
          As a group of academics and lawyers who have been working together and consulting on socioeconomic rights legal reform, we note parliament's continuing failure to bring the UK into line with the majority of other countries. A new bill on socioeconomic rights – to complement the protections afforded to civil and political rights – would address such a significant legal vacuum.
          Socioeconomic rights are the material conditions of freedom, necessary so that everyone can contribute meaningfully to society. Most constitutions recognise socioeconomic rights in one way or another, but the UK is an outlier of continental proportions. What is more, the government is seeking to dilute the already limited Human Rights Act.
          As part of a new constitutional settlement, we need to guarantee all human rights, including economic and social rights, in law. This reform is long overdue, but in the context of our dire current socioeconomic situation, it is needed more than ever.

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