-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

Progress on socio-economic rights in Great Britain

07 March 2018

Update Report on Great Britain’s Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Read report

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has assessed the progress on socio-economic rights in Great Britain since 2016, focusing on four key areas:

  • the status of socio-economic rights in domestic law and policy
  • the rights to an adequate standard of living and social security
  • the rights to and at work, and
  • access to justice.

This new report has found that there has been progress in some areas since 2016, for example:

  • the introduction of the National Living Wage
  • the Government’s strategy ‘Improving Lives – The Future of Work, Health and Disability’ to facilitate access to employment for disabled people
  • the Welsh Government’s Strategic Equality Plan and Equality Objectives 2016–2020.

“However, the overall picture emerging from the most recent evidence remains deeply concerning. We have identified persistent challenges in relation to a number of economic and social rights and, in some instances, further deterioration.”

Key concerns, affecting disabled people, were:

Access to justice

This is beyond reach for many disabled people in Great Britain because of changes to legal aid and employment tribunal fees (until 2017). Benefits

Social security

The report highlights many concerns about social security.

  • rates of payment, which are below the poverty line
  • the cut in allowances for those in the ESA work related activity group
  • the sanctions system
  • changes to PIP regulations affect people with mental health conditions
  • the need for Work Capability Assessment reform


Disabled people are most likely to be in low-paid, part-time work with few opportunities for progression. Despite increasing Government efforts to tackle the disability employment gap, significant employment gaps persist, especially for disabled people due to several factors, including the lack of reasonable adjustments, difficulties in accessing transport and the workplace, and negative attitudes towards disabled people.

Independent living

In November 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) published a report concluded that there was reliable evidence of grave or systematic violations of the rights of disabled people to live independently and be included in the community (CRPD Article 19), to an adequate standard of living and social protection (Article 28), and to work and employment (Article 27). Overall, there has been limited progress on implementation of the full set of recent UN recommendations concerning socio-economic rights.

Progress on socio-economic rights in Great Britain