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Press Release: 22 March 2011
A coalition of race equality organisations told senior MPs today that the government is not doing enough to tackle race inequalities in the UK.
They also expressed concern regarding the government's decision last week to re-open its consultation on the Equality Act 2010's specific equality duties, arguing that this could result in a watering down of the legislation. This is the third consultation on the specific equality duties.
The comments were made to the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of its inquiry into equalities. Leander Neckles, Board Member of Equanomics UK, gave evidence on behalf of the group of race equality focused organisations, which is made up of Equanomics UK, the Runnymede Trust, the Centre for Local Policy Studies and Race on the Agenda (ROTA).
During the session, Leander Neckles also argued that the current government structures for tackling race equality are inadequate and in particular called for the Race Equality Minister Andrew Stunell to engage far more closely with race equality organisations in the months ahead.
She also called for the government to make clear why it has decided to reconsult on the specific equality duties, and added that this decision will delay their implementation, originally planned for this April. She also warned that there may be real uncertainty about what public bodies have to do during this extended consultation period.
The Home Affairs Committee also confirmed in the session that its remit has been extended to include equalities, meaning that they may revisit these issues in the long term.
Commenting on the session, Leander Neckles said: "The Home Affairs Committee inquiry is timely and welcome, and we hope that it will assist in raising awareness and developing action on critical race issues. However, if the government wants to live up to its aim of transparency and inclusion in decision making, it needs to make clear why it has decided to consult yet again on the specific equality duties".
Rob Berkeley, Director of Runnymede added: "We welcome the Home Affairs Committee inquiry into equalities, and are particularly pleased that this issue has been included in its long term remit. We look forward to seeing the government's full strategy on race equality when complete, and hope that the Committee will revisit the issue of race equality once this document is published".
Download the submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee inquiry into the 'equalities agenda of the Government' here.
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