Mayor Ken criticises plans for single equality body

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has criticised plans to replace a race watchdog with a new single equality body.

The government wants a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) to take responsibility for gender, race and disability discrimination.

But Ken Livingstone fears losing the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) could mean less money for race issues.

He said disabled people had successfully lobbied for a disabled commissioner, and a disability committee at the CEHR – and this should be extended to others represented by the commission.

The CRE was the only one of the three current equality watchdogs to oppose the first plans for the CEHR, which the government said would strengthen existing bodies.

But chairman Trevor Phillips later welcomed “improvements” made to the original White Paper proposals.

The Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission are expected to be merged into the CEHR when it is formed in 2007.

However, it is believed the CRE will continue in its current form until 2009.


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