Equality South West has criticised the Government for suggesting getting rid of laws aimed at fighting discrimination, protecting individuals’ rights and creating a fairer, more equal society.
Equality South West is the England’s first regional equality and diversity body, and its chief executive (interim) Katie Pratt said it was very disappointing that the day after new measures to fight discrimination and combat inequality came into force, the Government added the Equality Act 2010 to its Red Tape Challenge website.
The Red Tape Challenge website invites people to suggest ways of reducing unnecessary regulation and claims “the default presumption will be that burdensome regulations will go”.
The Equality Act 2010, which replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, was enacted in October last year but some elements of the legislation came into effect on Wednesday, April 6 this year.
Katie told the PRSD: “The Equality Act is not regulation, it is primary legislation that outlaws discrimination, protects the most vulnerable in our society and in the workplace, makes business more efficient and creates a fairer society.
“It was extensively discussed before being passed into law only last year, with the backing of all the major parties.
“It is therefore extremely disappointing that the day after parts of the Equality Act came into force on Wednesday, April 6, the Government added the Equality Act to the Red Tape Challenge website on Thursday, April 7.
“Not only is this inconsistent but it’s also embarrassing that whoever was responsible for adding the Act to the Red Tape Challenge website did not realise that the Government can’t dismantle it without going against so many pieces of European legislation that a new Act would have to be introduced in its place.
“The Government constantly talks about ‘fairness for all’ but you cannot have fairness if you have prejudice and discrimination. This Act has been introduced so that people can live and work free from prejudice.
“Equality South West calls upon the Government to live up to its stated desire to achieve ‘fairness for all’ and remove the Equality Act from its Red Tape Challenge website.”