Equality since the 2010 Equality Act – regression instead of progression

Back to all Motions

2016 National LGBT Conference
23 September 2016

Conference notes that in June 2016 the United Nation’s (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the sixth periodic report of the United Kingdom (UK) on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It found the UK government’s austerity measures and social security reforms were in breach of their obligations to human rights.

Drawing on evidence from the Just Fair coalition, the report cites factors including increased reliance on foodbanks, unemployment rates, the housing crisis and mental health care. It emphasises problems with the Government’s welform reform including ‘bedroom tax’.

The UN committee stated it was ‘seriously concerned’ about ‘the disproportionate adverse impact that austerity measures’ have on disadvantaged and marginalised groups, specifically women, children, disabled people, low-income families and families with two or more children.

The UN also expressed concerns over:

1)unemployment which continues to disproportionately affect disabled, Black and young people;

2)high levels of part-time, temporary work and the use of zero hour contracts;

3)insufficient national minimum wage;

4)Trade Union Act 2016 limiting the right to industrial action;

5)violence against disabled women;

6)increased risk of poverty for disabled people;

7)restriction of access to justice;

8)significant rise in homelessness;

9)plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights;

10)Access to health care and cuts to mental health services.

All of these are issues for disabled LGBT people, which we have campaigned on.

Furthermore, in March 2016, a House of Lords Select Committee investigated the Equality Act 2010 and disability equality. It concluded that the Government is failing in its duty of care to disabled people. It found that the situation has worsened for disabled people since 2010, in many areas of their lives. The Select Committee has criticised that the Government response to their report as inadequate. Intersectional experience of LGBT disabled people and Black LGBT disabled people are not mentioned in this report: a missed opportunity.

The UN Committee recommended the UK bring into force the proposed Equality Act provisions on a public sector duty to give due regard to socio-economic disadvantage and the prohibition of intersectional discrimination.

Conference calls on the national LGBT committee to work with relevant structures of the union to:

1)continue our campaign to protect the Equality Act 2010 and for the introduction of the socioeconomic duty and prohibition of multiple discrimination;

2)call for research and reports on equality to consider intersectional experiences;

3)lobby for action on the UN and Select Committees’ recommendations.