13 May 2009
Equalities Bill passes second reading
The Equalities Bill passed its second reading in parliament this week despite some opposition.
According to minister for equality Harriet Harman, the legislation will make the UK a "fairer and more prosperous" country.
She said: "When times are hard it's even more important that everyone feels that they have an equal chance, that we all pull together because we are in the same boat."
The bill had been criticised by Conservative shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May, who said many of its recommendations were "unworkable and bureaucratic".
However, a Conservative party motion rejecting the bill was defeated by 322 votes to 139.
The proposed legislation includes measures to reduce the gender pay gap which remains in the UK.
In a bid to expose organisations which have unfair remuneration practices, employers would have to publish pay audits.
Having passed its second reading, the Equalities Bill will now be considered in more detail by a parliamentary committee.