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Our rights of everyday life – a decent job and enough to live on, a place we can call home, the opportunity to learn, a healthy environment, and a safety net when we most need it – are the essential ingredients for a good life.

They also offer a solution to many of the social issues being faced by too many people across the UK today.  Having these rights protected would mean things like a genuine living wage, a fairer tax system, and no one sleeping rough.

These rights exist. But they are not currently protected in our laws across the UK. 

It doesn’t have to be like this.  We know it’s possible to guarantee our everyday rights across the UK as it’s already starting to happen in Scotland and Wales.

At Just Fair we have been thinking about what measures and policies would be needed for it to happen across all of the UK.

You can be part of this by joining ‘the everyday rights conversation’ to help generate ideas and proposals about how economic, social and cultural rights incorporation can practically be achieved across the UK. 

The five principles of everyday rights

We think there are that it would be helpful to talk about so we can start to imagine and build the practical measures and policies that guarantee everyday rights for us all. 

For our rights to be protected we all need:

  1. RIGHTS KNOWLEDGE. This means knowing what our rights actually are. It means the people making decisions which affect us all must know about these rights and guarantee them in the work they do. And if there is a failure to protect or respect our rights, we need to know what we can do, where we can turn to for help and how to seek changes.
  2. RIGHTS FRAMEWORKS. Legal and other frameworks are needed to put our everyday rights into domestic law and incorporate them into day-to-day life across the UK so they can be enforced. There are many ways to do this. Countries adopt different approaches according to their specific constitutional set up and so we need to think about the best way for this to happen for the UK. 
  3. RIGHTS RESOURCING. For everyone to enjoy their rights it is important that the government makes maximum use of available resources to ensure that the rights are supported. For instance, for people to enjoy their rights to education and health this requires adequate funding of public systems. It is also important that complaints and monitoring mechanisms are properly resourced so that people can seek redress when their rights are not being respected.
  4. RIGHTS ACCOUNTABILITY. For rights to be protected there must be accountability of those who make decisions which affect all of our lives. Having routes to remedy is an important part of accountability.  This means that people should be able raise complaints and seek reparation when things go wrong, and lessons are learned so it doesn’t happen again.
  5. RIGHTS ENJOYMENT. The protection and enjoyment of our everyday rights is likely to be an ongoing process. The participation of rights holders in an evaluation process will be fundamental to determining how rights are being experienced day-to-day across the UK, so that we know if our rights are being protected. It will also highlight where further work in guaranteeing protections can and should be done.

These principles are a starting point for this ambitious work.  For incorporation of our rights to happen and then work in practice, we are gathering people together to generate ideas and proposals about how this can practically be achieved.   

To do this, we have launchedthe route to a better UK: the everyday rights conversation’ which will include a series of discussions and opportunities to get involved throughout 2024 supported by the UK ESCR Network.  This process is free and open to all.

Participate in the everyday rights conversation to be part of building a better UK.

This is a summary of our ‘Five principles of economic, social and cultural justice in the UK’. Read the full paper.

Background image: Generations for Change - Bibi Sakata.