Don’t cut equality

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Don’t cut equality

Inclusion London, together with a number of other DDPOs and voluntary sector organisations, is opposing government plans for sweeping cuts to the powers, budget and work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

10/06/2011

The government set out its plans in a consultation document. The proposals include:

Abolishing Section 3 of the general duty of the Equality Act 2006. The government thinks it is ‘unrealistic’ for the Commission to help develop a society where an individual’s potential is not limited by discrimination, there is respect for human rights and where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate. We say: what’s ‘unrealistic’ about that? Also, this law was only introduced in 2006, after a big debate in society and parliament: now government wants effectively to abolish it by the back door. Cutting the EHRC’s powers and removing the duty to promote good relations. These changes would undermine future potential work researching and acting against harassment and hate crime. Further attacking access to justice by ending the disputes conciliation service and privatising the Helpline, and cutting the grants programme that has helped fund law centres and specialist advice agencies. This comes on top of the government’s cuts to Legal Aid. Slashing the Commission’s funding by 68 per cent cut (compared to when it was set up in 2007): the EHRC would lose more than half its workforce and regional offices. Massively weaken its future work and subject it to ongoing reviews which could weaken it further. Instead of this, we want action to strengthen the work of the EHRC: we think it should have the power and duty to provide legal representation to people who have human rights problems. At the moment it can’t do this and no other body has this power either.

If you want to read our full response to the government’s proposals, you can download the document on the right.

The consultation closes on 15 June, so you may still have time to make a submission: you can use our submission to help you do so. Thank you to everyone who already responded to our call for views.

Copies of the government’s consultation document can be found at: www.equalities.gov.uk

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