Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee has published its findings into the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget. The Committee is urging the Government not to step back in equalities budgeting, after having led the way in this area for many years.
The Committee is calling on the Scottish Government to mainstream equalities and human rights considerations across all departmental budget spending. It has also suggested that it should adopt a ‘national direction’ on human rights-based budgeting. By taking these steps, the Government would demonstrate to other organisations facing difficult budget decisions that incorporating human rights and meeting people’s needs makes good business and social sense.
Members of the Committee are also calling on the Government to systematically harness the money it spends on big infrastructure projects such as roads and major building projects to address equalities issues.
Equalities and Human Rights Committee Convener, Christina McKelvie MSP, said:
“Implementing a national framework for human rights based budgeting would keep Scotland leading in this field.
“With tighter budgets across the public sector, ensuring that we take a human rights based approach to budgeting decisions has never been more important.”
“We need to ensure that protected groups are not unfairly impacted upon when making budget decisions. What better way to do that than making sure they are fully represented and consulted during the budget process?”
Finally, the Committee also noted concerns that the pace of progress on human rights budgeting has slowed as the focus has moved away from tackling known equality issues, to a discussion of what to do and the collection of data and evidence.
More information can be found in the report.