The EHRC Report: Is Britain Fairer? Was published today though the press had an early look and reduced 208 pages of text to quite small reports essentially finding only bad news for Scotland:
So, I’ve been through it and shamelessly cherry-picked some bits of relatively good news mostly missed by our Nomedia and, sometimes, I’ve had to insert things the EHRC missed. I should note smugly that there are few cherries to be picked for England and wales.
There has been some progress in Scotland and Wales in enabling children to challenge legal decisions made by education authorities about support needs and school exclusion. There has not been similar progress in England.
The overall exclusion rate is on the rise in England and Wales. It is falling in Scotland.
In England and Wales, the proportion of children attending special schools, rather than mainstream education, has increased marginally. In Scotland, it has decreased slightly.
Scotland’s ‘Attainment Challenge’ was introduced in 2015. An evaluation of the Attainment Scotland Fund, which is targeted in the most deprived areas, found that it had led to an increased overall commitment to tackle the attainment gap.
Educational attainment gaps much smaller in Scotland than in England after 10 years of SNP government: JRF Poverty Report Extract 6
97% of Scotland’s head teachers expect attainment gap to close over next five years thanks to SNP government funding
However, the UN has voiced concerns about the education of disabled children in the UK. In 2017, it reviewed the UK’s progress against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). It expressed objections to the UK’s growing reliance on special schools (this is more of an issue in England than elsewhere) and claimed that the education system is not yet equipped to deliver high-quality, inclusive education in mainstream settings. According to the UN, the UK should commit to ensuring all disabled children receive an inclusive education (UNCRPD, 2017). In Scotland there already exists a legal presumption that a disabled child will receive a mainstream education.
In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education provision not included in UCAS’s figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young, full-time undergraduate study in Scotland.
More students from the most deprived parts of Scotland are entering Higher Education but, once again, BBC Scotland attempts to mislead us
Security in Rented Accommodation:
A draft Bill to ban letting agent fees in the private rental sector was introduced to UK Parliament in November 2017 and the Welsh Government consulted on a similar move in the same year, although no new legislation has been proposed (such fees were banned in Scotland in 2012).
Part III of the Scotland Act 2016 devolved powers over some parts of the social security system to the Scottish Parliament, including the power to create new benefits, top up benefits in newly devolved areas, and administer benefits differently (e.g. splitting UC payments between individual members of a household).
More evidence of becoming a better nation as SNP ‘future-proof’ social security
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 replaced binding targets for England andScotland to reduce child poverty in the Child Poverty Act 2010 with a new duty on the UKGovernment to report annually on ‘life chances’ indicators relating to worklessness andeducational attainment. It also removed the measure of poverty based on family income. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 reintroduced these income-based targets and set statutory targets to reduce child poverty by 2030.
The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 includes a right to independent advocacyfor individuals who require assistance due to an impairment, restrictions on private-sector involvement in medical assessments and a duty on the Scottish Government to consider the effects of inflation with disability and employment-injury assistance.
In Scotland, the number of homelessness applications to local authorities decreased from a peak of 57,672 in 2008/09 to 34,570 in 2016/17. This reduction is likely to be caused by Housing Options and homelessness prevention strategies adopted by local authorities, rather than by changes in the underlying drivers of homelessness (Scottish Government, 2017a)
As the number of the employed yet homeless soars in Southern England it is falling and much lower in Scotland
The proportion of children living in poverty in 2015/16 was lower in Scotland (26.0%) than in both England (29.9%) and Wales (34.1%).
Health of Prisoners:
The NHS does not collate information from prisoner health screenings to understand if there is unmet need (NAO, 2017c). During 2016/17, access to health services was impeded by the reduction in the number of prison officers and restrictive regimes leading ultimately to increased waiting times (HMCIP, 2017a). In contrast, the prison admissions process in Scotland was found to be robust in helping to identify healthcare needs (Scottish Parliament, 2017b).
In England and Wales, the infant mortality rate in 2016 was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, an increase from 3.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. The infant mortality rate had been following a downward trend since the 1990s, until 2015, where the rate began to increase (ONS, 2018). In Scotland, the infant mortality rate in 2016 was 3.3 (per 1,000 live births) (181 deaths), similar to rates for 2014 (3.6) and 2015 (3.2); lower than England but higher than Wales (National Records of Scotland, 2017).
Scottish stillbirth and early infant death rates lowest in the UK and approaching lowest in the world
Public confidence in the criminal justice system:
The 2016/17 Crime Survey for England and Wales has reported that half (53%) of adults
aged 16 and over are confident that the criminal justice system (CJS) as a whole is effective and about two-thirds (68%) are confident that the CJS as a whole is fair (ONS, 2017a)….In Scotland, approximately three in four people were confident that the system allows all those accused of crimes to get a fair trial regardless of who they are (78%) and treats those accused of crime as innocent until proven guilty (72%); and that everyone has access to the justice system if they need it (75%) (Scottish Government, 2018a).
Violence and abuse:
The number of race hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales increased by 67% from 2013/14 to 2016/17 The number of racially aggravated offences recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 27% from 2,712 in 2013/14 to 1,993 in 2016/17 (Scottish Government, 2017c).
Between 2013/14 and 2016/17, the number of sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 89% in England and Wales (to reach 121,450) and by 26% in Scotland (to reach 10,822) (ONS, 2018b; Scottish Government, 2017c).
The number of race hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales increased by 67% from 2013/14 to 2016/17 (Home Office, 2017a)….The number of racially aggravated offences recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 27% from 2,712 in 2013/14 to 1,993 in 2016/17 (Scottish Government, 2017c).
The % of people experiencing violence and abuse in 2016/17
Disabled: England 13.8%; Scotland 4.1%
Women: England 7.4%; Scotland 3.5%
Pages 139 and 40
The Scottish Government announced a new justice strategy in 2017, acknowledging that
female imprisonment grew at a faster rate in the decade to 2012 than for men and noting the benefits of women’s community justice services (Scottish Government, 2017b).. According to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), the population of men and women in custody have both fallen steadily from their peak levels in 2011/12, decreasing by 7% and 22%, respectively (SPS, 2017a).
Child Cruelty and Neglect:
Although there were increases in both England and Wales in the number of cruelty and neglect offences across this period, there was a decrease in Scotland.
In 2016/17, the rate of children held in the youth secure estate was 20.0 per 10,000 population in England and Wales, compared with 14.0 in Scotland.
The % indicating trust in most people in their area – 61.4% in Scotland but only 42% in England
Feeling they belonged in the immediate neighbourhood- 61.6% in England and 77.6% in Scotland
Right that’s enough. I’m knackered more than the average Brit.
i think much of the problem coming from the BBC can be summed up in the phrase ‘Labour in Scotland’s monumental clusterfuck’.
In all the decades Labour was in control of Scotland they made no effort to create a country or even a region where the broadcaster is responsible to the country it operates in, or any effort to create a multimedia democracy. As we know many small regions and countries across the world have multiple radio and TV broadcasters.
Scotland really was seen by Labour as its fiefdom to plunder.
But Scots share the blame, they accepted all that Labour did and ended up with all newspapers and broadcasters run from somewhere else or by Tories.
So many Scots happy to live with the benefits the SNP Scottish Government created but don’t want to support it.
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Reports such as the Human Rights one which you have justifiably and admittedly cherry-picked to demonstrate how selective the media are, are fairly objective statistical reports, which have the usual qualifications about significance, and have proper purposes. They are to report to the electorate the current state of play about things on which public money is being spent. They are to identify where policies and practices are having the effect that they were intended. And, they are to identify where actions have not had the desired effect or to identify aspects, which were given little or no attention, now require some. They are NOT about assigning blame – although in some cases this is appropriate, where some person or group has acted in ways which were improper or negligent. Usually, where less than hoped for impacts are identified, the reports usually identify possible causes. Where previously unidentifiable issues are noted, this is to flag these up so that there can be a debate as to whether resources should be deployed to address these. This is what (small ‘p’) politics is about.
It is on such matters that good journalism would focus.
Nomedia, being owned and run substantially by the wealthy and powerful focuses on identifying small problems (such as a single mother having more than two children) and megaphoning about these while ignoring the information in, say, the Panama Papers. It creates a wholly mendacious stushie about assessment of P1 children, but, substantially ignores rates and tax allowances to private schools.
The Scottish Labour Party is as complicit in this as the Tories.
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in due respect to your patient analysis I read all the way through and it caused me to consider the awful prospect of the SNP – now 11 years in government – being replaced by a Labour/Tory alliance.
This week Labour via their union chums have brought strike action strategy back into Scottish politics. We learn of Richard Leonard being the schemer who frustrated the women’s equal pay claim way back in 2006 when he was the GMB strategist. The women claimants are 6 to 8 weeks from securing a settlement, and Labour/GMB encourage them to strike and lose two days pay. A cynical political ploy.
a Tory MSP with 6 children, and having claimed benefit for them, angrily wants to restrict the rights of the poorer members of society to a 2 children only embargo.
Labour, who intended to close Monklands hospital but were ousted by the SNP before they could action, now want to campaign on the location of a proposed new Monklands hospital. Oddly they haven’t yet put forward their Labour, fully- costed PFI plan, for the new hospital.
Michael Donnelly’s account of Labour vandalism of the arts infrastructure and artefacts – reminding me of the events back then, and the treatment he, and a female colleague received at the time.
And then there is Brexit, displaying Toriy and Labour at UK national level.
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John every Scot should be very grateful to you and people like you on Social media who swimming against the tide of misinformation that sadly still persists in the main stream media. Many thanks and I am doing my very best to spread the word.
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I heartily second that 🙂
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Well done fantastic ,a lot of work for you ,praise richly deserved
Thanks. I’ll try avoid developing heid the baw
John, your article prompted me to look a little more closely at the work of the EHRC. They tend to produce rather long reports based on desktop analysis of data derived from very many sources. From a scientific viewpoint the conclusions reached from such an approach are very unlikely to be confirmed by replication of the studies by other researchers.
Further, in their 2011 paper outlining the “Framework” developed by the EHRC ostensibly for maintaining consistency of analysis, this statement appears right at the beginning:
“Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report series
The Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report Series publishes research carried out for the Commission by commissioned researchers.
The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission. The Commission is publishing the report as a contribution to discussion and debate.”
I do not doubt the sincerity of all those in the EHRC and other similar bodies, nor do I discount the need for society to promote the wellbeing of at-risk sections of the population and to enlist the aid of the best information obtainable to that end.
The reports of the EHRC etc. should be taken as the opinions of people with an abiding interest in and knowledge of the broader aspects of Human Rights – not as cold, hard statements of facts on which to base incendiary, politically biased media headlines.
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Thanks for these thought-provoking comments.