Assessing the Impact of the Public Spending Cuts: Taking Human Rights and Equality Seriously
HUMAN RIGHTS AND PUBLIC FINANCE BUDGETS AND THE PROMOTION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS, Aoife Nolan, Rory O'Connell and Colin Harvey, eds., Hart Publishing, 2012
16 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2011 Last revised: 30 Jan 2015
Date Written: June 21, 2011
This contribution argues that the protection of human rights and the promotion of equality are threatened by widespread public spending cuts, such as those that are currently underway in the United Kingdom (UK). Thorough analysis of often complex inter-related cuts is required in order to understand the equality and human rights impacts on particularly vulnerable or otherwise disadvantaged groups and individuals. Here the authors explore the potential of one policy instrument - equality and human rights impact assessment (EHRIA) – and how this instrument can be utilised in order to make a valuable contribution to decisions about public spending.
The authors review a recent equality and human rights impact assessment, they carried out which assessed the impact of the cuts on women in Coventry. They argue that this assessment provides a number of lessons for the way in which future impact assessments should be carried out by public bodies; EHRIAs must be based on a genuinely participatory consultation process, significant gathering of evidence and analysis of the combined impact of cuts on particularly vulnerable groups. EHRIAs would also benefit greatly from explicit consideration of economic, social and cultural rights. Finally, the authors argue that there is also an important role for academics in advancing the use of human rights and equality discourse to address the public spending cuts.
Keywords: Human rights, Equality, Human rights impact assessment, equality impact assessment, budget, public spending cuts, economic, social and cultural rights, public finance, gender, women.
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation