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Repeal the Equality Act 2010, cut the cost of regulation

Comment 12th July 2010

Stop implementation of  The Equality Act 2010 and then repeal it entirely; halt the onward march of “Political Correctness” regulation.

Review the previous legislation relating to discrimination on Race, Disability and Gender including 

  •  the Equal Pay Act 1970;
  •  the Sex Discrimination Act 1975;
  •  the Race Relations Act 1976;
  •  the Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
  •  the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003;
  •  the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003;
  •  the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006;
  •  the Equality Act 2006, Part 2;
  •  the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

Review as well as the

The main European Directives affecting domestic discrimination legislation:

Replace the UK legislation with new and simplified law that:

1) is easier and simpler for companies, public organisations and members of the public to understand and operate

2) is optimised with a prime purpose  to minimise the costs and overheads of implementation and on-going operation in both companies and public organisations. ( note the cost estimates need to be done realistically by representatives of the above companies and public organisations and NOT by the GEO, the EHRC or the hosts of Equality/Diversity/Political Correctness consultants around them)

3) implements in a minimal way the requirements of the relevant European Directives which themselves address:

  • equal pay for men and women;
  • equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions;
  • equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin;
  • equal treatment in employment and occupation
  • equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services;
  • equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation.

4) Eliminates all mandatory forms of "positive action" or "positive discrimination" except as may be unavoidable to achieve (c) above.

5) Eliminates or minimise all mandatory requirements for measuring and monitoring the ethnic, sexual preference, and or religious characteristics of employees or job applicants.

Why does this matter?

Equality Act 2010

This law is objectionable for three main reasons:

  1. It is discriminatory
  2. It is highly intrusive as it requires organisations to demand information re sexual preferences, religion and race from citizens
  3. It adds to an already excessive burden of regulation as It imposes very high costs onto public and private organisations

This is the final gasp in previous government’s campaign to foist their ideas of political correctness on all of us. Currently being implemented, the Equality Act 2010 now defines six "protected characteristics" which are to be protected (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation). Three of the six  are new compared to the previous legislation. The Act imposed various new duties on state funded organisations and permits and encourages "positive action" (ie positive discrimination) in employment decisions when all other things are equal.

The Bill imposes a legal duty upon all public bodies to address the gap between social classes when implementing policies and allocating resources. To achieve this, they will need to build a bias into their funding allocation to discriminate against the better-off.

Can we afford this burden?

Implementation costs exceed £200 million even by the previous government’s estimates. Given the “Alice in Wonderland” approach of the estimates by previous government it is likely the deployment and implementation costs to private organisations will be many times

The real ongoing cost of propagating and administering "equality and diversity" throughout public organisations is probably impossible to estimate – how many adverts did we see during the new labour years for "Equality and Diversity" Directors, Assistant Directors, Strategists etc etc? These people are probably still on the payroll of each of the hundred of public sector organisations . How many managers ,  assistant managers and staff have they hired to create mini empires. How many consultants, lawyers and self appointed experts have emerged to profit from all this? How time is wasted in the public sector questioning and monitoring employees ethnic, religious and sexual "characteristics"?

To quote the Institute of Directors in January 2009, commenting on new legislative burdens being introduced by the then Labour Government…


“Some of the bigger burdens set for introduction, according to the Government, include:

  • Time to Train – £555m pa
  • Business Rate Supplements – £319.3m pa
  • Single Equality Bill (includes Gender Pay Audits) – £70.9m pa
  • Flexible Working Extension – £61m pa

The Government argues that these proposals have benefits which will offset many of the costs. The IoD does not accept this argument. In our view, the Government, in order to justify these initiatives, has grossly exaggerated these benefits while ignoring the indirect and induced costs.”

Surely if the country need to reduce expenditure in the Public Sectors by 25% it is better to remove completely useless “duties”, and the highly paid managers implementing them, rather than front line staff performing  real  work for the community.  Is it too naïve to assume that the net cost saving due to removing one £80K manager will be higher than cutting four front line workers at £20K each?

How much would the average UK taxpayer miss them if the complete Government Equalities Office, and all the various Equality and Diversity staff throughout UK public sector organisations were to be assigned elsewhere? 

It would be wrong to advocate removing the basic legislation that makes discrimination on the grounds of gender, race or disability etc. illegal. And it would be unrealistic to suggest that the  UK should  or could cease to support the legal requirements of the various EC Directives on Discrimination. But we do not need to do more than this!

Up to now "positive discrimination" has not generally been allowed by UK Law. However the Equality Act 2010, passed by the previous government in April 2010, will permit state employers to take what is called "positive action" to hire a candidate from on of six "protected characteristic" groups (gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, belief and age); provided that candidate is of equal ability. Of course in "new labour speak", positive action is said not to be discriminatory!
Given that this Act also about doubles the burden of equality rules, recording and hence quotas , and extends it further into the private sector we can guess what will happen in practise
The only good thing is that this Equality Act 2010 has not yet been implemented -lets hope it gets repealed first!

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