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The next UK General Election is likely to take place in autumn 2024, and if the Labour Party were to win and form the next UK Government, they would be doing so almost exactly 80 years after a Labour Government took power in 1945 and introduced the modern welfare state.

The welfare state was created in response to the need to wipe out poverty and hardship following the Second World War and its creation was a seismic moment in our history.

We are now living in an era of crises. It is time to return to the founding principles of the welfare state and for a new long-term solution.

Our proposal to the Labour Party
In March 2023, we made a submission to Labour’s National Policy Forum calling on the Labour Party to commit to enshrining into domestic law all our economic, social, and cultural rights as set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

We proposed that the UK should return to the founding principles of the welfare state by enshrining these rights into domestic law. We wouldn’t have to speculate whether the UK Government would act to ensure people have enough to eat, adequate housing or access to education – it would be obligated to.

The Labour Party has an enduring and proud legacy on human rights.

In 1948, a Labour Government voted for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which gives equal weight to economic, social, and cultural rights as it does to civil and political rights.

In 1968, a Labour Government signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) on the world stage.

In 1976, a Labour Government took the necessary next step in ratifying ICESCR, meaning the UK had a legal obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil these rights.

If they were elected in 2024, the Labour Party could finish the job and take the final step of enshrining these rights into domestic law, offering a genuine, enduring safety net for future generations.

Background image by Asis Percales