The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on future public spending decisions to protect equalities and human rights in Scotland is to be considered by a Holyrood Committee.
The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights (EHRi) Committee has issued a call for views on the financial implications arising from Covid-19, including the impact on funding of third sector organisations which support people to be treated equally and to access their rights.
MSPs will focus on how inequalities highlighted by the public health emergency and the response to the crisis can be addressed in Scotland’s economic recovery.
The Committee also seeks views on what more can be done to ensure equalities and human rights are central to Scottish Government budget decisions.
Committee Convener, Ruth Maguire MSP, said:
“As this committee’s on-going inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on equalities and human rights has shown, it is some of society’s most vulnerable groups who have experienced disproportionately negative effects as a result of the virus and as a consequence of the lockdown measures imposed.
“Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities in Scotland, but it has also shown that positive outcomes can be achieved with targeted funding to support individuals and particular groups.
“Now that we are moving out of the crisis and restarting the economy, we want to hear how the pandemic has affected funding to support people to access their rights and ensure they are treated equally.
“We also want to explore how the Scottish Government considers equalities and human rights when it makes budget decisions. We want to know what actions should be taken and what data collected to make this happen more effectively, to address the unequal impact of Covid-19 on specific groups and tackle long-standing health and social inequalities in Scotland.”
The closing date for responses to the call for views is Friday 18 September 2020.
The Committee is are looking for information about the following questions:
1. Last year we were successful in getting the Scottish Government to commit to increasing the Equalities and Human Rights allocation to £30.2m. What is this extra money being used for and is it enough?
2. During last year’s budget scrutiny, we found that spending decisions were sometimes being made without due consideration to equality impact assessments. With unprecedented levels of grants being provided to the private and third sectors over the past six months in response to COVID 19, how confident is the third sector and other stakeholders that money is being committed only after due consideration is given to equality impacts?
3. In the Scottish Government’s response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, the Scottish Government has committed (p.69-70) to “recognise the necessity of embedding an Equalities and Human Rights approach across our policy thinking and development for economic recovery and renewal.” It has listed what it’s done so far to help meet this commitment and what it intends to do in the near future. What more should be done and how can the 2021-22 budget contribute?
4. Any other relevant comments?
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