There is a pressing need to discuss and develop UK approaches to ESCR; while these rights impose binding legal obligations under international law they are not currently considered part of the political 'mainstream', nor are they applied as principal standards for public policy in the UK.
Major political and economic changes have recently taken place including the Emergency June Budget and October Spending Review, which re-evaluate notions of the public good, the welfare state and minimum standards of living. However, even before the 'austerity changes' the UN Committee on ESCR, in both their 2002 and 2009 Concluding Observations, raised concerns that the UK is failing to adequately secure these rights.
Why is it, for instance, that 13 million people in the UK, 3.9 million of whom are children, live in poverty?
This poverty has a disastrous impact on the right to obtain the highest attainable standard of living. For example, a child born in the affluent area of Lenzie North in Glasgow has a life expectancy of 82, compared with a child born in the disadvantaged area of Carlton who has a life expectancy of just 54.
Almost 50 per cent of home workers, for instance, and around 20 per cent of migrant workers, may be paid less than the minimum wage, some earning as little as £1 per hour.
Who should attend?
The October 2011 conference is designed to enable approximately 250 judges, scholars, policy makers, legal practitioners and community representatives to exchange views and consider the problems and prospects for the effective enjoyment of ESCR in the UK. It will feature a mixture of keynote addresses, breakout sessions and workshops as well as informal opportunities to exchange ideas and build relationships.
Day one, 21 October 2011 - is a mix of plenary and breakout sessions. The plenaries include discussions on the effect that budget cuts will have and whether ESCR can be protected by a bill of rights. There will also be a poverty truth commission.
Day two, 22 October 2011 - A focus on practical working sessions on strategies to protect vulnerable rights and groups.
Bookings and prices
private sector organisations, government departments, agencies and local authorities - £85
third sector organisations and academics - £65
concessions, ie students, pupils and trainees - £25 (concessions are capped to 50 places)
private sector organisations, government departments, agencies and local authorities - £65
third sector organisations and academics - £50
concessions, ie students, pupils and trainees - £20 (concessions capped to 50 places)
private sector organisations, government departments, agencies and local authorities - £140
third sector organisations and academics - £102
concessions, ie students, pupils and trainees - £38.25
All prices are inclusive of VAT.
The ticket prices have been generously subsided by the Law Society Charity, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Law Society of England and Wales.