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Government slammed over plans to scrap equality assessments

CAMERON: Described current measures as ‘bureaucratic nonsense’

CONCERNS ARE being raised about plans by the Government to axe equality impact assessments, which are often used to determine how new laws and policies will affect different groups, including ethnic minorities.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference on Monday (November 19) in central London, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was scrapping assessments and three-month public consultations on future government policy proposals. He claimed such “bureaucratic nonsense" is not necessary to ensure that officials uphold the rights of different races, genders and faiths.

The Prime Minister said: “Take the Equality Act. It's not a bad piece of legislation. But in government we have taken the letter of this law and gone way beyond it, with equality impact assessments for every decision we make. Let's have the courage to say it: caring about these things does not have to mean churning out reams of bureaucratic nonsense.”

But Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary, Brendan Barber said: “The Prime Minister says he is committed to clamping down on discrimination in the workplace but at the same time is removing an essential measure for monitoring it.

“Equality impact assessments have proved invaluable in highlighting how proposed legislation could affect women and vulnerable workers. It smacks of a desperate attempt to placate the business lobby, which like the TUC, is deeply concerned at our economy's anaemic growth. Scrapping equality impact assessments would be reckless and is not the way to get our country moving again.”

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