Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Defend Equality - Save Section 3

Today MPs may overturn a successful Lords amendment in order to repeal Section 3 of the 2006 Equality Act at the final stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.



Why does this matter?



Well Section 3 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/3/section/3) defined the duties of the then newly established Equality and Human Rights Commission as follows;



"The Commission shall exercise its functions under this Part with a view to encouraging and supporting the development of a society in which—



(a)people's ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination,



(b)there is respect for and protection of each individual's human rights,



(c)there is respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,



(d)each individual has an equal opportunity to participate in society, and



(e)there is mutual respect between groups based on understanding and valuing of diversity and on shared respect for equality and human rights."



The present Government think this duty too "wide-ranging" and "unrealistic" - but if the objectives of a body set up to promote equality and human rights aren't at least a little aspirational what's the point?



The position of the House of Lords was overwhelmingly supported in the responses to official consultation.



You can contact your MP via the website of PCS, the union which represents the Commission's workforce - http://action.pcs.org.uk/page/speakout/save-section-3



If Section 3 is repealed, can the public sector equality duty, codified in the 2010 Act long survive in its present form?

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