Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Take a stand - Defend equality

Over the course of time we get used to it.

(Guest Post) “It” being a methodical onslaught on privileges (such as free comprehensive health care), freedoms (such as the freedom to live with the ones you love where ever they may come from in the world even if you earn less than £18,600 per year) and our rights.

Sometime last year the Government issued their now (in?) famous “Red Tape Challenge”. As part of this, one of the proposals was to repeal the Equality act 2010.

This suggestion prompted a deluge of responses from across the Country to leave the act alone. The act was brought in at the end of the last Labour Government after a tortuous amount of consultation and involvement stretching over years.

The new coalition government in their infinite wisdom started swiftly to make the changes by simply failing to implement sections of the Act (protection over Dual discrimination) http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/equality-act/faq/ and watering it down where they could (the move away for the requirement to equality impact assess policy changes to simply paying “due regard” to equality).

However on the 15th May this year, it seems clear that it was time to focus on our rights. Issuing a double whammy of two sets of consultations on repealing two sections of the equality act, removing equality act questionnaires and reconsidering and reviewing the Public Sector Equality Duty the proposals have explicit intention to scream out:

· Tribunals have no place in preventing future discrimination

· People making allegations of discrimination have no place demanding that they should be protected from harassment

· People making allegations of discrimination have no business asking for answers from their respondents before their day in court

· The Public Sector Equality Duty has no place in making sure that unfair and discriminatory decisions don’t take place.

The organisation I work for has set up a website for people in Northamptonshire to respond to the proposals here [http://defendequality.co.uk] but if you live outside Northamptonshire you can learn more about the proposals and find a suggested set of words to complain to the Government Equalities Office on both enforcement@geo.gsi.gov.uk and thirdpartyharassment@geo.gsi.gov.uk

Don’t forget to write to your local MP. You have until 7th August 2012 to take action. If you don’t ... you very well might regret it.

(Guest post by Anjona Roy: photo Kelly)
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