Peter Hoskin

The equality landmines that Labour have left the coalition

The equality landmines that Labour have left the coalition
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Oh dear, the Treasury is mired in another controversy about equality after the Guardian published a letter which Theresa May sent to George Osborne before the Budget. In it, she warned that the government could face legal action if it is unable to show that its decisions were made with a consideration to "existing race, disability and gender equality duties." As she puts it:

"If there are no processes in place to show that equality issues have been taken into account in relate to particular decisions, there is a real risk of successful legal challenge by, for instance, recipients of public services, Trade Unions or other groups affected by these decisions."

this document

"This section ensures that individuals have no recourse to private law because of a failure by a public body to comply with the duty imposed by section 1. This means that individuals are not able to claim damages for breach of statutory duty for a breach of this duty. However, this section does not prevent an individual from bringing judicial review proceedings against a public body which is covered by the duty, if he or she believes the public body has not considered socio-economic disadvantage when taking decisions of a strategic nature."


other benefit changes

This is not to dismiss the equality agenda out of hand. There are still serious issues which need to be resolved, not least the dispiritingly large pay gap between men and women. But the minefield of legislation that the last government left for the coalition looks set merely to befuddle the issue, and to impede the progress of wider reform. Little wonder why Matthew Parris called for a blanket repeal of Labour legislation in an article for the Spectator manifesto.