Other international human rights

Economic Social and Cultural Rights

Economic, social and cultural rights cover a broad range of human rights. They are guaranteed in international human rights treaties to which the United Kingdom is legally bound, and include rights relating to the workplace, social security, adequate housing, food, water, health care and education.

Steps to follow

Under its international commitments to economic, social and cultural rights, the UK, and Scotland, should show progress over time towards the full realisation of these rights by everyone. This means taking steps, according to the maximum of available resources, to progressively achieve their full realisation.

Even where resources are scarce there should still be every effort made to improve the enjoyment of these rights. For example, regardless of the resources available to it, a country should as a matter of priority seek to ensure that everyone has access to, at the very least, minimum essential levels of all of these rights. Targeted programmes should exist to protect the rights of people in poverty or otherwise marginalised and disadvantaged people.

While these rights can only be fully realised over time, they also contain immediate obligations to ensure (as a priority) minimum essential levels of these rights for everyone, non-discrimination and that any retrogression (roll-back) on rights can be justified for the full range of human rights. This does not mean that the government must provide all of these things, such as healthcare, water, education, food and other goods and services but that it must ensure that those services are adequate and equally accessible to all.

Some of the most relevant economic and social rights for older people and care services are outlined briefly below.