The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) sets out the economic, social, and cultural rights of individuals. The UK ratified ICESCR in 1976. As of 2018, 166 States have ratified ICESCR. 

What are economic, social and cultural rights?

The rights set out in ICESCR include those relating to:

  • Social security
  • An adequate standard of living, including food and housing
  • Health
  • Education

Monitoring ICESCR

ICESCR is monitored by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which is made up of 18 independent experts from around the world.  The UK was last examined by the Committee in June 2016.  The UK Government submitted its State Party report to the Committee in 2014 which laid out the steps they have taken to implement ICESCR and further economic, social and cultural rights for people in the UK since the country’s last examination.

The Committee published its most recent set of Concluding Observations for the UK in June 2016.  They highlighted the following priorities in relation to children and young people’s rights:

  • Provide data on the impact of social security reforms on women, children, low-income families and families with two or more children;
  • Ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of childcare services;
  • Adopt a child poverty strategy and reinstate child poverty targets;
  • Reduce the attainment gap;
  • Ratify UNCRC Optional Protocol 3

Read the full Concluding Observations here. 

Since the publication of the Committee’s Concluding Observations, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has published a report which looks at the state of economic and social rights in the UK, covering issues such as child poverty.