The government are ignoring their obligation to measure inequality – parliament must compel them to do so

Screen-Shot-2018-01-05-at-16.07.10-440x292This article was published in Labour List.

The UK is one of the most economically unequal countries in the developed world, and tax, public spending and social security policies in the austerity years only worsened the problem.

Since 2010, the Labour Party has examined the impact of tax and social benefits on different groups. The model developed by Yvette Cooper shows that the savings have come from services predominantly used by women, causing them to bear the brunt of such cuts to the tune of 86%.

While the Government fails to conduct the necessary impact assessments, others are providing evidence of the disproportionate effect that some policies are having on women, children, persons with disabilities or BAME families.

Last November, for example, the Equality and Human Rights Commission demonstrated that the costs of tax, public spending and social security cuts have been borne overwhelmingly by the poor. While everyone has lost some money after the reforms, not everyone has lost the same.

Net cash losses for the bottom 40% have been about £1,500 per year, while for the top 20% the average cash loss has been £200. On average, BAME households have paid a higher price than white households. Families with at least one member with a disability have bit hit particularly hard. Single parent households, more than 80% of whom are headed by women, have suffered disproportionately. In fact, women have been more negatively affected by tax and welfare reforms in all income brackets.

In light of this dire reality, 126 Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and Green MPs have called for an immediate equality assessment of all government policies.

In particular, Labour has tabled an amendment to the Finance (No. 2) Bill 2017 to require the Chancellor to review the equality impact of the Budget, including the way in which tax changes and benefit cuts affect households at different income levels.

We welcome this initiative. We desperately need policies that are both transparent and effective in ensuring real equality and an adequate standard of living for everyone.

The good news is that we already have the necessary tool in the statute books: the Socio-economic Duty. Continue reading “The government are ignoring their obligation to measure inequality – parliament must compel them to do so”

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Mapping human rights or how to sieve governments’ words into the bowl of facts

mapI will be honest with you: I tend to dislike the idea of categorising human rights violations with numbers. If human rights are indivisible and interdependent, how can we say that the violation of this right deserves a “4” while the violation of that one will do with a “2”. Does that mean that two of the latter equal one of the former? It won’t be me telling that to the victim. Continue reading “Mapping human rights or how to sieve governments’ words into the bowl of facts”

A bit of self-criticism in the critiques to #Kony2012, please

Since Monday, more than 70 million people have viewed a film on Youtube about the living conditions of thousands of children in Uganda. According to the film, these children are victims of the violence and revenge of Joseph Kony. Mr Kony and other LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) leaders were charged in 2005 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity (murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement, rape, and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering) and war crimes (murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlistment of children). Despite the arrest warrant, Joseph Kony hasn´t been arrested yet. The film is the business card of a campaign propelled by Invisible Children, a charity that seems convinced that Kony will fall when the world (the American public, mostly) gets to know about him. A hashtag will make all the difference: #Kony2012. Oops, I almost forgot: They ask for money as well. Continue reading “A bit of self-criticism in the critiques to #Kony2012, please”

Self Impact Assessment: A Comparative Analysis of Development and Human Rights Non Governmental Organizations

Author: Koldo Casla

Published in International Affairs Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2010

ABSTRACT

In the last few years, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have accepted the responsibility of assessing their own impact to determine what actions and policies positively affect people’s lives. Many organizations have developed tools and good practices in this regard. NGOs in the field of international development began this journey several years ago. However, human rights groups have been slower in the task. For example, Amnesty International formally adopted in 2008 the same impact assessment methodology (Dimensions of Change) that Save the Children has been working with since at least 2003. This paper follows the comparative method of “Most Similar Systems Design” (MSSD). It compares different outcomes across similar units. The paper begins with a short presentation of the debate regarding the necessary conditions for a successful NGO and impact assessment as a matter of accountability. The paper will also present the progressive intersections between development and human rights NGOs. Finally, it will explain why development organizations have advanced more than human rights organizations in the assessment of their own impact.

FULL ARTICLE available here.