Not Delivering on the Equality Act and Attacks on the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Back to all Motions

2011 National LGBT Conference
8 August 2011

Conference welcomed the approval of the Equality Act in 2010, the final legislative act of the last Labour government. But this Tory-led government has shown that they are not committed to equalities. Savage public service cuts are affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) workers and provisions for LGBT service users.

This government is backtracking on many of the intended provisions of the Equality Act. They have not gone ahead with the proposed socio-economic duty or dual discrimination provisions and are questioning protection from workplace harassment by third parties – one of the gains of the Equality Act we lobbied for.

Conference notes that on 5 April 2011, the long awaited, extended public sector equality duty – contained in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 – came into force across Great Britain.

The equality duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to:

1.Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;

2.Advance equality of opportunity;

3.Foster good relations.

This ‘due regard’ applies to sexual orientation and gender reassignment, alongside other equality characteristics.

Conference deplores the fact that this Westminster government delayed and weakened the specific duties that underpin the general duty, although robust specific duties were implemented by the Welsh Government according to the original timetable.

Conference further deplores the Westminster government’s emphasis on reducing bureaucracy and cutting red tape as an excuse to undermine equality. Conference condemns the slashing of the budget and functions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the body with the statutory remit to monitor and enforce the Equality Act.

Conference believes, however, that the Equality Act and the general equality duty are still useful tools in our work for equality.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to:

A.Maintain and update its bargaining factsheets and other materials, showing how the Equality Act can be used;

B.Work with branch and regional LGBT groups to highlight attacks on LGBT workers and services, urging them to monitor our employers’ and service providers’ compliance with the equality duty, particularly in terms of restructuring, redundancies or cuts;

C.Campaign against any erosion of our equalities.