Policy paper

Framework for a fairer future: the Equality Bill June 2008

This document contains the following information: The Equality Bill

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Framework for a fairer future - the Equality Bill - Full Text

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This document sets out the Government’s aims for the forthcoming Equality Bill. A substantial body of equality legislation has been introduced over the last four decades, but the legislation has become complex and hard to understand. The Equality Bill will declutter and strengthen the law. The Bill will introduce a new Equality Duty on the public sector, replacing the three existing duties on race, disability and gender and extending to gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. The Bill will contain powers to outlaw unjustifiable age discrimination, but there will be further consultation on the design of the legislation before the new legal protections are introduced. Transparency is essential to tackling discrimination, and public bodies will have to comply with the Equality Duty over gender pay, ethnic minority employment and disability employment. The Government will work with business to improve transparency in the private sector. The Bill will extend the scope of positive action so that employers can take account, when selecting between two equally qualified candidates, under-representation of disadvantaged groups. Permission to use women-only shortlists for parliamentary candidates will be extended to 2030. Non-legislative measures to increase the number of ethnic minority elected representatives in Parliament and local councils will be pursued. Finally the Bill will aim to strengthen enforcement. Tribunals will be allowed to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases, which will go beyond benefitting the individual taking the case so that there are benefits for the rest of the workforce of the employer found to have discriminated. A more comprehensive paper on the content of the Bill will be published shortly.

This Command Paper was laid before Parliament by a Government Minister by Command of Her Majesty. Command Papers are considered by the Government to be of interest to Parliament but are not required to be presented by legislation.

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