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Back EDM 591 and fight poverty


Harriet Harman, EDM 591, Taxpayers Againts Poverty, Just Fair, Equality TrustCall on the government to bring section 1 of the Equality Act into effect.

Taxpayers Against Poverty was launched in February 2012 with this letter to the Guardian by Reverend Paul Nicolson:

‘Ministers at the Department of Work and Pensions repeat ad nauseam their mantra: “It is not fair for taxpayers to be asked to pay for the cost of spare bedrooms, or housing benefit which is high in central London because rents are high etc, etc.” Therefore the poorest citizens are thrust into unmanageable debt by caps and cuts in housing benefit, possible eviction, forced migration, undue stress and misery.

‘As a citizen who pays income and council tax, VAT and the excise duty on my evening glass of wine, I steam with indignation each time I am used by ministers to justify such draconian measures making people poorer.

‘I am glad my taxation is used to enable my fellow citizens, both in and out of work, to buy enough food, clothes, fuel, transport and other necessities, to pay council tax and the rent of secure homes, when they have no other means to do so; and bewildered by the short-sightedness of a policy which deliberately reduces the totally inadequate adult JSA of £67.50 a week by creating rent arrears, with debt-related mental health problems and high extra costs for a hard-pressed NHS.

‘The self-evident unfairness is the current policy of dumping national debt and deficit reduction on the incomes of the squeezed middle and poorest citizens, while the higher-paid taxpayers experience no financial inconvenience.

‘Meanwhile the OECD reports that USD11.5 trillion, including bonuses, is parked in overseas accounts and the Treasury is aware that £100bn of property in central London alone is registered overseas – both out of reach of the taxman.

‘That really is unfair. I hope thousands will join Taxpayers Against Poverty, TAP, to say so loud and clear. All we need is an email.’

Taxpayers Against Poverty ‘s constitution is based on Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights covering economic and social rights.

‘ARTICLE 25 – UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: Right to an adequate standard of living.

‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

‘Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.

‘All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.’

These rights have been written into UK law since 1998 but never promulgated – i.e. they are in the Acts of Parliament but not in force.

Some MPs are getting behind the idea that economic and social rights ought now to be enforceable in law by signing a Parliamentary early day motion – EDM 591.

Harriet Harman is the primary sponsor of this early day motion. Tabled on 23 November 2017, it calls for the commencement and enforcement of the socio-economic duty – s1 of the Equality Act.

EDM 591 reads: ‘That this House notes with great concern the high levels of income and particularly wealth inequality in our society; further notes the recommendation in the 2016 Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to bring into force the outstanding provisions of the Equality Act 2010; commends the efforts of some councils to implement the Socio-economic Duty (Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010) in their budgets and strategic planning; welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to commence the Socio-economic Duty; encourages the Welsh Government to make use of the powers of the Wales Act 2017 to bring the Duty to life; and calls on the Government to bring section 1 of the Equality Act into effect.’

And Taxpayers Against Poverty stands totally behind the Equality Trust and JustFair in their support of this campaign.

Please write to ask your MP to sign it, even if you know it will not happen. We need a list of those MPs who are against human rights.

Any number of people should write to one MP – so don’t hold back because you think someone else might be doing it.

Click here to find out who your MP is and how to contact them.

Here is a template for such a letter:


Re: EDM 591 Commencement and Enforcement of the Socio-Economic Duty – S1 of the Equality Act

I do not have to tell you that many of your constituents are hungry and in debt due to shredded benefit incomes, high rents, council tax and its enforcement and rising prices.

And the Office for National Statistics has reported an unprecedented rise in normal deaths and infant deaths and the Institute of Health Equity on the undeniable evidence of the negative impact on health and on the economy of low income and debt.

I am sure you also know that imposing these circumstances on the poorest UK citizens is quite contrary to Human Rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The European Convention on Human Rights and indeed in British law.

However in the UK social and economic rights have never been promulgated.

I therefore support the Equality Trust and Just Fair in asking you to sign Early Day Motion 591 which calls on the government to bring into effect Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010: “Public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities“.

Yours Sincerely

And add your own name and address, so they know you are a member of their constiutency.

Then send their response to Taxpayers Against Poverty.


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