Are human rights at the heart of the Social Security Bill? Experts give evidence to Parliament Committee  

Human rights experts have called for the Social Security Bill in Scotland to be strengthened before being passed.

A Bill to set up Scotland’s new social security system is currently at Stage One in the Scottish Parliament.  Experts including representatives of Engender, the Commission for Racial Equality and Rights, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission amongst others, answered questions before the Parliament Committee on how far the Bill has human rights at its heart.

Judith Robertson, the Scottish Human Rights Commissioner, said:

‘As the bill stands, we have a principle in relation to the right to social security but we do not have the right. We believe that the bill would be strengthened significantly if that right were enshrined in Scots law.’

There were calls for the right to social security to be made a reality throughout the Bill through including the right to independent advocacy, and the right to redress.

Emma Ritch from Engender said:

‘..without having some kind of redress mechanism—there is possibly a role for an independent scrutiny body—the charter would not have much weight.’

You can read the official report of the evidence session here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11100&i=101302