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New Equality Act becomes law. Consultation on new guidelines too short.

New bill set to change equalities in the UK

The Equality Bill has now received Royal Assent and is now law. The Act will take effect in the autumn of this year. Trumpeted as being a consolidation of existing equality legislations and simplifying the anti discriminatory legal framework the Act provides the necessary underpinning for the work of the European Human Right Commission (EHRC) who are charged with enforcing the legislation.

Many black community organisations initially skeptical of the effectiveness of the new legislation will now be waiting to see of if it offers a greater levels of protection from race discrimination. With huge areas of race discrimination yet to be effectively tackled and race inequalities continuing to widen in particular for African, Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities over the last 20 years there are some whom remain skeptical about the bills legal effectiveness.

It is now important that black communities and organisations engage with the EHRC to influence the priority and strategic direction of the work of the Commission.

The Commission has announced consultation about a range of statutory guidelines that will determine the operational detail and scope of this legislation throughout the country. The consultation period is intolerably brief and takes place during the election period. The consultation ends on the 16th April and many are expected to call for this to be extended .The EHRC web sites states:

“In line with our statutory powers, we are producing draft codes for the Equality Bill as the Bill continues its passage through Parliament. This is to ensure that the final codes are available to support the Act once it becomes law and to give you as much time as possible to respond and influence the final versions of the codes. This consultation is not an opportunity to influence the final version of the bill as this is the responsibility of Parliament.”

You can respond here.

No doubt many will find it difficult to respond in such a short timescale and notwithstanding the fact that many organisations will be focused on the election. The real question is with the election and a new Government set to take office why the rush?

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One Response

  1. I don’t know much about this new bill yet. I am very sure it would not be favourable to BME citizens. The homosexuals might be more favoured by it to the consternation of the church. With a government that has been very faourable to white homosexuals, that is not a surprise.

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