Early Day Motion (EDM) 591 has been launched in Westminster calling for the implementation of the Socio-Economic Duty already legislated for in Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010, reports the Institute of Employment Rights.
Sponsored by Harriet Harman MP, the motion is also backed by Chris Stephens MP, previously a well-known activist in UNISON Scotland.
The Socio-Economic Duty requires public bodies to act in such a way as to reduce the inequalities facing people from disadvantaged backgrounds when making and implementing policy.
The Duty was legislated for by the Labour Party but the Coalition government of 2010 scrapped its implementation.
The EDM reads: “That this House notes with great concern the high levels of income and particularly wealth inequality in our society; further notes the recommendation in the 2016 Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to bring into force the outstanding provisions of the Equality Act 2010; commends the efforts of some councils to implement the Socio-economic Duty (Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010) in their budgets and strategic planning; welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to commence the Socio-economic Duty; encourages the Welsh Government to make use of the powers of the Wales Act 2017 to bring the Duty to life; and calls on the Government to bring section 1 of the Equality Act into effect.”
So far, 66 MPs from across five parties have put their signatures to the EDM and the Equality Trust and Just Fair are appealing for people to write to their MPs to encourage them to add their support.
The Institute of Employment Rights also recommends the implementation of the Duty. In our Manifesto for Labour Law, it is further proposed that the Equality Act is strengthened by including socioeconomic status as a ‘protected characteristic’ to provide rights to those who are discriminated against by employers due to their background.
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