CRE rejects inclusion in single equality body

The
Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has voted to oppose government plans to
merge it with other anti-discrimination bodies into a single equality body.

A
White Paper in May proposed the creation of an Equality and Human Rights
Commission, covering race, gender, disability, age and religion.

The
body would have an annual budget of £50m and be a “one-stop shop” for anyone
facing any kind of discrimination.

CRE
chairman Trevor Phillips is said to fear that a merger would send the wrong
message to ethnic minorities and create unnecessary upheaval. The CRE’s 13
commissioners voted 11-2 for the “unequivocal rejection” of the measure.

The
Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission, both of
which would be included in the merger, are expected to back the proposed
legislation.

Business
leaders also back the change, which they hope will lead to a lighter regulatory
touch for firms dealing with recent anti-discrimination laws.

There
have also been suggestions that senior ministers in Westminster have
reservations about the proposal.

By Mike Berry

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