Harriet Harman paves way for more diversity legislation

Equalities minister Harriet Harman today paved the way for yet another raft of workforce diversity laws next year.

With the ink barely dry on the draft Equalities Bill, Harman announced that a body was being set up to decide what more needed to be done in a year’s time.

She told delegates at the TUC conference in Brighton: “I am setting up the National Equality Panel, which will chart where we have made progress during the past 10 years, and where we need to make much more progress.”

London School of Economics professor John Hills will chair the new panel, and is expected to involve trade unions in its work.

Harman said: “I know that he is already working with the TUC and will expect the trade unions to be playing an important part in his work.

“He will report to government after 12 months, and then that will be able to lay the basis for even stepping further forward on the important work to tackle inequality and to bring forward social justice.”

The Equalities Bill will bring in a range of new diversity rules if it is passed through parliament in its current form early next year. Tribunals will be given power to recommend that organisations change their equality policies, while private firms bidding for state work will have to publish diversity statistics.

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