Monday, 18 April 2011

The Red Tape challenge

The government are consulting as to whether to scrap the Equality Act of 2010. They are arguing that there is too much 'red tape' in this legislation and want to hear your views on whether it should be scrapped or not.

I URGE you to write and tell them not to scrap the Equality Act. Part of me thinks they just want to scrap it because they got caught out not following it with the emergency budget. It is such nonsense to get rid of legislation that, although is not perfect, does a lot to protect us from discrimination and asks public bodies to consider the impact on equality when they make decisions. It is a vital piece of legislation for protecting the rights of all of us.

You can leave your comments here:

Here's mine:

The equalities act offers people across the UK protection from discrimination. It replaced legislation that was confusing and long-winded.

We do not live in a perfect world. Unfortunately, discrimination still exists. Women still get paid less than men in the workplace, for example. Gay people, trans people, BME people, disabled people and women still find themselves subject to hate crimes, verbal abuse and legal discrimination because of who they are. Until this changes, which is a long way away, we need the Equalities Act.

This government is, of course, guilty of not following the letter of the equalities act. For this reason, the emergency budget of July hit women unfairly. 70% of the money 'raised' by the budget came out of women's purses. You may say the equalities act is a difficult piece of bureaucracy. I say, when followed, it protects us from decisions that harm. It asks you to make decisions having looked at and examined its impact on equality.

This can only be a good thing. Why should public bodies ignore the rights and needs of various groups? What is the purpose in not considering the impact on equality?

It makes the UK a fairer place for everyone to live. It protects the individual and groups of people from discrimination and harm. It means that everyone, everyone in the UK is treated with respect.

It is categorically NOT unnecessary red tape.


Elly said...

Its not so much they got 'caught out' as the Fawcett society's attempt to call for a review of the budget failed. They are waiting to see if the HRC will demand the review goes ahead.

I don't think it is red tape the Government are bothered about either.

But I am not sure what I think of the Equalities Bill. I haven't read it yet. I will!

sian and crooked rib said...

Hi Elly,

that's not strictly accurate. The judge didn't grant fawcett a judicial review of the government's procedures as he called it an 'academic' question - an opinion i completely disagree with but that was the judge's decision. However the government did admit that they had not taken an equality impact assessment when writing the emergency budget, and fawcett's/cooper's investigations had exposed them and forced them to admit this, which is why i wrote they were 'caught out'.

annifrangipani said...

I believe this act should be FULLY implemented - including the socio-economic duty, mandatory gender pay reporting and dual discimination. How can this country thrive and grow if we do not ensure that all people are treated fairly and equality? How can it even be suggested that this act is scrapped? How can David Cameron talk about community cohesion and then suggest that the statutory ways to achieve this are removed? It doesn't make any sense! Do we really want to see a country where out and out discrimination is the norm? It's not as if we are anywhere near equality. A few days ago two men were ejected from a pub for kissing. That is a contravention of the rights to service regulation for LGBT people and just a tiny example of what will happen if this law is removed. Any person can be denied a job, housing, a service - A LIFE simply for being Black, Gay, Disabled…The list goes on. The sheer wrong-headedness of this suggestion takes my breath away.

_ said...

I am only disappointed that the Equality Act 2010 is not strong enough! It does not provide enough measures to ensure compliance with the Equal Pay Act 1970. To suggest that gender pay audits would be bad for business is to admit that businesses are not complying with the Equal Pay Act, which, as a stand-alone piece of legislation, is very difficult to enforce. Pay audits aside, the Equality Act 2010does provide greater protection to women’s equality than previous legislation has done and for that reason should not be scrapped - or weakened.

Where the Equality Act 2010 falls down, however, is with regards to provisions for protection of religion or belief which are not defined in the legislation. It is also very unclear how protection will be afforded for religion/belief rights while still ensuring full protection from sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination. It places the onus on the courts to decide where the balance belongs and this is risky. There should be no compromise when it comes to protecting women’s rights!

sian and crooked rib said...

Hey _ i agree the act does not go far enough and is far from perfect. However, as you say, that doesn't mean it should be scrapped or weakened. I hope if the act is saved, then over time it will be built upon and improved to ensure that equality for everyone is a given, a right, and normal.

Mili said...

The Tories have been trying to hamstring this Act since its inception. It was passed in the wash-up last year but only after extensive watering down, and this government has a history of choosing not to implement any part of it it can get away with not implementing. Good catch on the red tape challenge. Ugh.