York Human Rights City publishes 2023 Indicator Report: Moving Forward with Stronger Foundations

News | Posted on Tuesday 26 March 2024

The York Human Rights City Network (YHRCN) has today released its 8th Annual Indicator Report since York was declared as the UK’s first Human Rights City in April 2017.

The report, co-written by academics from the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York and other members of YHRCN, also monitors the protection of key human rights in York. 

A key finding this year are of workplace disparities. The city’s gender pay gap remains well above regional and national averages, although it has shown signs of slight improvement, and ethnic and racial inequalities persist, as was highlighted earlier in the year by the Inclusive Equal Rights UK (IERUK) group. The report highlights that foodbank use across the city has continued to rise. The number of vouchers fulfilled by the city’s Trussell Trust foodbank increased by 17% in 2023. There was also a 24% increase in the number of households living in temporary accommodation in the city, and a 31% increase in the number of children living in such accommodation. 

The report also notes some positive developments. It welcomes the decision to revoke the ban on Blue Badge holders gaining vehicular access to the city centre; the reduction in the gap between the average and low wage full-time weekly wage in York; and the improvement in the number of adult social care users reporting that they had sufficient social contact. 

The Network acknowledges the impact of national issues on the situation here in York but also makes recommendations for local actions to identify mechanisms for building on previous successes, and for remedying past failures.

These include:

  • continued work being carried out to identify and tackle the causes of workplace disparities
  • greater efforts to tackle the crisis in mental health care provision in the city
  • greater links between York and other UK cities that follow human rights principles

Local government elections in May 2023 led to the installation of a new administration which has taken a strong stand on human rights and equalities issues, including reversing the exclusion of Blue Badge holders from the city centre.

2024 sees the relaunch of the Human Rights and Equalities Board in York. The Board, which provides strategic direction for local human rights and equalities work, was suspended in 2021 amidst disagreements over the handling of the Blue Badge issue. With access restored, the Board has been reconstituted to give it a more visible, robust and dynamic presence in the city.

Stephen Pittam, Chair of York Human Rights City Network said: "We look forward to working, alongside the City Council and other organisations, towards ensuring the protection of human rights in York, through the relaunched Human Rights and Equalities Board (HREB). There is much work to be done."

Read the report in full