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Social Rights Are Human Rights published

Social Rights Are Human Rights - But the UK System is Rigged

On Monday, 18th September, the Centre for Welfare Reform launched an important report, Social Rights Are Human Rights - but the UK System is Rigged, by Paul Hunt, University of Essex, with a Foreword by Paul Mason.

The UK has accepted legally binding international obligations to promote and protect social rights, such as the rights to affordable housing, an adequate standard of living, an equitable health system, education, food, and social security based on respect.

These social rights are especially vital to disadvantaged individuals and communities, but they are largely invisible in the UK. This invisibility has made possible austerity, widening inequality and the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Social Rights Are Human Rights – but the UK System is Rigged explains:

  • what social rights are;
  • how the UK human rights system is rigged against them;
  • how social rights can be used to reinforce progressive social policies, such as those in the Labour Party’s Manifesto, For the Many not the Few;
  • real-life examples from Leith, Belfast, York and elsewhere demonstrating how social rights improve people’s lives;
  • how to advance social rights in the UK.

On the morning of 18th September, the full report, and its summary leaflet, will be available at:


Professor Hunt writes: 

“Explicit social rights have the power to dignify and emancipate individuals and communities. They can shape policies and practice. There is evidence of their positive impact. Why not use them?”

In his Foreword, Paul Mason says:

“As the progressive left fightback unfolds in Europe, the idea of social rights has gained traction.”

Dr Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform:

“The UK is complacent about its human rights record. The United Nations’ recent criticisms of the UK’s attacks on disabled people, on people in poverty, on minority groups and on asylum seekers were entirely fair and accurate; yet the Government has avoided any effective accountability. Rights exist to help protect ordinary people from the actions of the powerful; it is time for the Labour Party and other progressive forces to make explicit social rights central to their vision for a better future.”

Media queries to:

Simon Duffy:
+44 7729 7729 41

Paul Hunt:

The Centre for Welfare Reform is an independent think tank based in Sheffield, with a network of over 90 Fellows from around the world. Operating since 2009 it advocates for positive social change and a world where everyone matters, where everyone can be a full citizen.