Tag Archives: equality act

Equalities – how the ‘General Duty’ was saved

It was fitting that, on the 20th anniversary of the death of Stephen Lawrence, the government decided to listen to campaigners and save a key element of our equalities laws.

Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) played a leading role in the campaign to save Section 3 of the 2006 Equality Act which provides a vision and mission statement for Britain’s equality watchdog.

This is known as the ‘general duty’ and both informs the work of the watchdog – the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – which itself is responsible for setting the standard for the rest of our public services.

That is …

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Opinion: Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference supports retention of Section 3 of the Equality Act

At the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference in Cardiff yesterday, a comfortable majority of representatives carried a motion urging that Lib Dem peers be allowed to vote with their consciences on amendment 35 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. By so allowing, the party will send out the signal that our commitment to equality and human rights is undiminished despite being in coalition with a party whose commitment is at best questionable.

Amendment 35 was originally moved in the Lords by disability campaigner Baroness Jane Campbell and passed in March, supported by Labour, cross Benchers, a majority of Lib Dem peers, …

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Opinion: A letter to Nick Clegg on the General Equality Duty

slflogo

Dear Nick,

I am writing on behalf of the Social Liberal Forum to urge that Lib Dem MPs vote tomorrow to uphold the decision of the Upper House to support the retention of Section 3 of the 2006 Equality Act.  Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission itself issued a statement supporting its retention. In making this request we are adding our voices to those of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats and the Lib Dem Disability Association, and several Lib Dem peers.

On 4th March several Lib Dem peers joined colleagues across the …

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Opinion: The ERR Bill….time for some masterly inactivity

On Tuesday April 16 the ping-pong stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will commence in the Commons. As readers of LDV will be aware the majority of Lib Dem peers supported Baroness Jane Campbell’s amendment to the section of the bill that proposed the repeal of S3 of the Equality Act 2006, the section that sets out the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s central purpose. As has been eloquently pointed out by Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece and many others there is a clear read-across between S3 and the preamble to our Federal Constitution. There are however …

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Eric Avebury writes … Let’s outlaw caste discrimination

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – Lords Amendment 37

Ping Pong stage, April 16, 2013

On March 4, the House of Lords voted by a majority of 103 for a cross-party amendment to make caste a protected characteristic under equality law (via a New Clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill). This is a conscience matter and I hope all LibDem MPs will support the Lords’ New Clause, as part of our commitment to the principles of liberalism.

Peers were persuaded by a report commissioned by the Government during the passage of the Equality Act 2010. It confirms that caste discrimination is …

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Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece writes…

On Monday 4 March, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, a renowned and respected disability rights campaigner, tabled an amendment, to which I included my name and support, opposing the Government’s proposal to repeal the ‘General Duty’ of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, arguing that doing so will fundamentally change the purpose, role and scope for the only equality and human rights statutory organisation in the UK.

The General Duty says that the EHRC ‘shall discharge its functions with a view to encouraging and supporting a society in which:

.. people’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination,

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Eric Avebury writes … Caste discrimination in the UK

When the Equality Bill was going through the Lords in 2010, I moved an amendment with LibDem support, giving the Government power to add caste to the list of ‘protected characteristics’, making it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of caste in employment, education and the provision of services.

Baroness Thornton, the Minister dealing with the Bill for the Labour Government, accepted the amendment. But the Government decided that further research was needed, and they gave the job to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR). It reported in December 2010 that there was indeed evidence of caste discrimination in …

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Jo Swinson MP writes…Equality is about more than ticking boxes

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) would never have become a valued and respected national institution if it was allowed to continue on the path it was on. Labour’s tired old way of working was turning equalities into a burden. When people heard the word equality they also heard bureaucracy and red-tape. Instead of being about fairness it was more about frustration.

If Labour’s method of ticking boxes and filling out forms led to equality, then why did they leave behind a society with so much inequality across the board? Twenty percent wage gaps between women and men, nonexistent social …

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LDVideo: Jo Swinson MP on new body image report

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson has today launched Reflections  on Body Image, a report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image, which suggests that children as young as five years old can be worried about their weight and looks.

The report makes a number of wide ranging recommendations from giving children body image and self esteem lessons in school to requiring advertisers to use a more diverse range of models to looking at whether the Equality Act needs to be amended to cover appearance related discrimination to challenging the evidence base that supports dieting and the idea that low weight guarantees health.

Jo has had an exhilarating day doing the rounds of the various media outlets from the Today programme to BBC Breakfast to Sky News.

Here she is talking to Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast this morning:

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Lynne Featherstone to reform Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone is to reform the Equality and  Human Rights Commission, cutting its budget and removing some of its responsibilities, most notably its obligation to assess how Government policies would affect the poorest.

Now, if ever there was a quango in need of reform, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is that body. Dysfunctional seems to be the best word to describe the EHRC. Wasteful would be another. For three years running, the National Audit Office qualified its accounts. Last year was the first year since its formation in 2007 when it managed to …

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