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The Race Relations Act 1965 was the first piece of legislation in the UK to address the prohibition of racial discrimination and followed previously unsuccessful bills. The Act banned racial discrimination in public places and made the promotion of hatred on the grounds of ‘colour, race, or ethnic or national origins’ an offence.
The Bill received Royal Assent on 8 November 1965, and came into force a month later on 8 December 1965. It was introduced by the Government in response to the increasing number of people who had moved to the UK from other Commonwealth countries; at the time of the Act being passed there were nearly one million immigrants living in the UK. It was criticised for failing to address vital areas where discrimination was most prevalent, namely employment and wider aspects of acquiring accommodation. This led to the passing of the 1968 Race Relations Act, which made unlawful acts of discrimination within employment, housing and advertising.
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