05 December 2008
Equality bill will strengthen discrimination laws, minister says
A government minister has welcomed the announcement made recently in Parliament by the Queen that the equality bill is to be brought forward.
The bill will replace nine major pieces of legislation and many other measures which have been in place for around 40 years.
Harriet Harman, the minister for women and equality, said it will strengthen and streamline discrimination legislation and will make the UK a fairer place.
She added: "Equality is not only important for the individual, but for society and the economy.
"If there are unequal societies marred by prejudice and discrimination, then people feel excluded, communities feel resentful and you don't have a society which is at ease with itself."
Meanwhile, Jackie Orme, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said that, while the organisation welcomes the simplification and clarification of existing laws, the government must not be under any "illusions" that the bill will solve the problem on its own.
The CIPD is a body for professionals involved in the management and development of people.
Julie Morris, Pprtner at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "We wait with baited breath for the new Equality Bill.
"This is a real opportunity for the government to make its mark and produce a consolidated set of anti-discrimination measures which marks the UK out as one of the leading countries in the challenge to achieve genuine equality.
"It remains to be seen, however, whether it is prepared to rise to that challenge."