Equality shake-up set to modernise law

The findings of a major investigation into the causes of discrimination and inequality in society will feed into powerful new legislation administered by the UK’s single equality commission.

The Equalities Review will be chaired by Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) chief Trevor Phillips and the findings will be used to modernise the law, which will move towards a Single Equality Act.

The review will examine all aspects of discrimination and make practical recommendations for the development of government policy in this area. Phillips is due to present his findings in the summer of 2006, with the aim of producing simpler and fairer equality laws.

Meanwhile, the DTI claims the October 2007 launch of the single Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will help pool expertise and provide greater support for those suffering discrimination.

The government has set out its plans in the Equality Bill, which include powers to tackle a wider range of discrimination and creating a duty on public authorities to promote equality.

The CEHR will have overall responsibility for the areas covered by existing equality watchdogs as well as the new areas of age, sexual orientation, religion and belief, and the promotion of human rights.

John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said a single point of contact would mean more clarity for employers, but the TUC warned the CEHR must be given simple laws and effective enforcement powers to prove a success.


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