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

Warwick School of Law Research Paper No. 2011-07

16 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2011 Last revised: 30 Jan 2015

See all articles by James Harrison

James Harrison

University of Warwick - School of Law

Mary-Ann Stevenson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 21, 2011

Abstract

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

Harrison, James and Stevenson, Mary-Ann, Assessing the Impact of the Public Spending Cuts: Taking Human Rights and Equality Seriously (June 21, 2011). 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 ; Warwick School of Law Research Paper No. 2011-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1868903

James Harrison (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
02476 523170 (Phone)
02476 524105 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/harrison

Mary-Ann Stevenson

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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