Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

The Equality Act

I brought forward the Equality Bill, now the Equality Act 2010, to ensure everyone has a fair chance in life.  This is important to individuals, for a strong society and a competitive economy. The Equality Act was intended to promotes equality, fight discrimination in all its forms, including age discrimination, and introduce transparency in the workplace which is key to tackling the gender pay gap.

The Act promotes fairness and equality of opportunity; tackle disadvantage and discrimination; and modernise and strengthen our law to make it fit for the challenges that our society faces today and in the future.

The main elements of the Act were:

  • Banning age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities or services and public functions. Things that benefit older people, such as free bus passes, will still be allowed.
  • Increasing transparency in the workplace. If inequality remains hidden, we can’t measure it and make progress;
  • Making Britain fairer through a single equality duty, which will require public bodies to consider the diverse needs and requirements of their workforce, and the communities they serve, when developing employment policies and when planning services;
  • Extending positive action measures to allow employers to make their organisation or business more representative;
  • Allowing political parties to use all-women shortlists beyond 2015;
  • Reducing nine major pieces of legislation, and around 100 statutory instruments into a single Act, making the law more accessible and easier to understand, so that everyone can be clear on their rights and responsibilities.

    To read the fact sheet explaining what the Act was intended to mean please click here.

Since 2010, the Tory-LibDem government has announced that they will repeal the socio-economic duty which promoted fairness; has repealed other provisions and delayed commencement of a number of new rights within the Bill, including duel discrimination and pay transparency.

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