Equality reforms condemned by Lib Dem taskforce

Taskforce set up by Nick Clegg condemns coalition plans to reform Equality Act and other measures to tackle discrimination

Coalition reforms will reverse progress made in improving equality and tackling discrimination, a Liberal Democrat taskforce set up by Nick Clegg has warned.

The taskforce condemned plans to water down the Equality Act and measures to tackle discrimination in the education system and the workplace.

The panel, set up by the deputy prime minister to find effective measures to tackle discrimination, condemned plans in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act to reduce employers’ liability for workplace discrimination and employment tribunals’ power to address the issue.

The taskforce called for firms seeking government contracts to be obliged to promote race equality, and for targets for schools to recruit black or ethnic minority teachers.

Other proposals included better training for teachers to counter “stereotypical assumptions” about pupils’ abilities based on their ethnicity.

The report said: “We recommend that Liberal Democrats oppose all attempts to weaken the Equality Act, and further to demand full implementation of the Act.”

In a foreword to the report, Clegg said it raised questions, challenges and issues that were important for his party, but added that he did not “necessarily agree with every individual recommendation”.

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