Government must act to embed equality in UK after Brexit
28 February 2017
The Brexit process offers an opportunity to embed equality into law and policy in the UK, says the report by the Women and Equalities Committee.
Inclusion of an equality clause in the Great Repeal Bill
The Government has committed to making sure the same laws apply, including equality laws, at the point of the UK's exit from the EU. The Committee recommends that the Great Repeal Bill is an opportunity to make this real by including a clause saying there should be no going backwards on equalities.
Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said:
"If the Government wants to maintain the current level of equality protection for vulnerable groups including pregnant women and disabled travellers, it must take active steps to embed equality into UK law. Our recommendations would go a long way to ensuring that the UK retains a strong and undiminished record of equality after it leaves the EU.
"..two concrete priorities which the Government should focus on.."
There are two concrete priorities which the Government should focus on: first, to include a clause on equality in the Great Repeal Bill saying that there will be no going backwards on current levels of equality protections, and second, to amend the Equality Act 2010 to empower Parliament and the Courts to declare whether new laws are compatible with equality principles.”
The report recommends that the Government should:
- introduce an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 to empower Parliament and the Courts to declare whether legislation is compatible with UK principles of equality, comparable to similar provisions in the Human Rights Act;
- include a clause in the Great Repeal Bill that explicitly commits to maintaining the current levels of equality protection when EU law is transposed into UK law;
- develop a cross-government equality strategy in order to ensure that all government departments take action on equality, and to provide a platform for linking into civil society organisations;
- map the extent of research and other equality projects currently receiving EU funds and to replace and ring-fence these funds to allow research on equalities to continue undisrupted.
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