New Equality Strategy – update

The media coverage of the launch of the Equality Strategy and the announcement that we are going ahead with positive action and gender pay reporting is instructive.

The right wing press says that we are introducing Harman’s law.

The left wing press says that we are scrapping Harman’s law.

0 thoughts on “New Equality Strategy – update

  1. Which part of the quote below from the FT is wrong?

    “The government has ditched plans to force companies to disclose how much they pay women and men in a move likely to be applauded by big business but spark consternation among equality campaigners.

    The Home Office announced on Thursday it would ask companies to narrow the pay gap through voluntary efforts, reassuring business that she will not enact legislation forcing companies with more than 250 employees to publish gender audits of pay from 2013. The decision to abandon compulsory gender pay disclosure unpicks a flagship element of Labour’s equal opportunities agenda. Harriet Harman, the deputy labour leader, included the provision to make disclosure compulsory in the Equality Act to ensure that business could not drag its heels on closing the gap. ”

    Your policy before the election was to”introduce manadatory pay audits.” Do you agree with the FT interpretation or do you agree with your pre-election policy? You are the government minister responsible, please answer clearly.

  2. Lyn may I ask politely, when you are going to address the lack of Equality faced by the members of the GRT communities in the UK? I have read and re-read various green and white papers,strategic and policy documents and either this issue is being ignored in the hope no one will mention it or I am missing the relevant portions?
    Would you be willing to meet me/us to take this discussion further?

    Heather Ureche.

  3. The Coalition’s document ‘The Equality Strategy – Building a Fairer Britain’ published yesterday includes the following:-

    “We are talking to those with a key interest in this issue [civil partnership,] including representatives of faith and lesbian, gay and bisexual groups, about what the next stage should be for civil partnerships, and including how some religious organisations can allow same-sex couples the opportunity to register their relationship in a religious setting if they wish to do so.”

    For the avoidance of doubt, please could you confirm whether or not the “next stage” includes the possibility of amending marriage legislation in order to permit same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage if they so wish? Thanks.

  4. This Government is doing a great job on this issue – realising that the way to achieve equality of opportunity is not through tick boxing and political correctness, as it often was, whatever her good intentions, under Harriet Harman, but through genuine reform.

  5. It won’t be called ‘Featherstone’s Law’ because it doesn’t really require anybody to do anything. More like ‘Featherstone’s Well-Meaning Suggestion.’

    Did you put up any kind of fight at all?

  6. I share Julie’s concerns. I can’t understand why promoting good intentions in the workplace could ever be more effective than legislation which, at least in theory, gives teeth to those who are discriminated against.

  7. You will never create a fairer society by allowing and encouraging employers to discriminate against people on the basis of personal characteristics like sex, race, sexuality, etc.

    It is the role of government to ensure equal opportunity exists and nothing more. Even if you could simulate equality of outcome in the short term with ‘positive action’, which is highly doubtful, in the long term the only beneficiaries will be no win no fee lawyers and opportunists who play the system. Meanwhile, you will be: sending the message that skin colour, gender, etc is valued over personal effort and merit; stirring up bitterness in the workforce (positive action will be assumed to take place in many cases even when it doesn’t); placing all companies in a vulnerable legal position; and, most critically, deepening divisions between people of different backgrounds which are rapidly and naturally resolving on their own.

    Positive action is a thoroughly unjust policy that offends people’s sense of fairness across the political spectrum. Discrimination – in any form, whatever name you give it – is always wrong, and we reject it. Especially when it is government-sanctioned.

  8. Of course what you are really doing is breaking your promise to introduce statutory audit of pay.

    But then broken promises from Lib Dems hardly counts as news any more.

  9. Hi Lynne,

    Re the Marriage equality question above, there has been discussion about the issue on Pink News. A member of your party, Dave Page, says you are supportive:

    Nevertheless I’m sceptical – in fact the Coalition’s Programme for Government, published a few months ago seems to have been carefully worded to promote the concept of civil partnerships in the context of being supportive of “gay rights,” but there was no mention of same-sex civil marriage.

    Please prove me wrong by confirming that the coalition government does indeed intend to work towards the goal of permitting same-sex couples the right to civil marriage. Thanks.

  10. The Equality Act is almost completely unchanged and the Guardian and its followers have seized on the only area in which they didn’t get their way to moan about.

    Positive action gives us a great example of lawyers (like Ms Harman) leaving the profession in order to make life better for…other lawyers. The provision seems designed to encourage workplace disputes.