Opposition to the Proposed Single Equality Commission

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2002 National Black Members' Conference
6 June 2002
Carried as Amended

The Government has announced that it intends to create a single equality commission to champion women, gay people, ethnic minorities, the elderly and disabled people.

If this radical merger takes place it could dilute the rights of different minority groups.

The Government’s intention is to have one body that can enforce the rapidly expanding body of anti-discrimination laws. This will mean that the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and Disability Commission would be merged and also address age, religion and sexual orientation. The proposed policy has been highly criticised, for example the Chair of the Disability Commission said “Disabled people do not want abled people talking about their difficulties. What have we got in common with these other groups?”

It appears that ministers have introduced the idea because it looks neat. Merging six groups with different legal rights would be a minefield. If we have one single Commission this would be a wonderful day for lawyers and a disservice to minority groups.

The Commission for Racial Equality has indicated that its voice might be weakened by a merger. They are not sure if they could retain all their enforcement powers and existing powers they have that protects disabled people.

Conference, therefore, instructs our National Black Members’ Committee to call upon the National Executive Council to vigorously oppose the proposals put forward by the Government. We should mount a campaign with other bodies and agencies who are also opposing these proposals.