The Equalities Review report

The Equalities Review’s final report into the causes of persistent discrimination and inequality in British society has been published, warning that despite significant progress, some forms of inequality are set to remain at intolerable levels.

The report calls for a new approach to tackling discrimination and disadvantage and warns that at the current rate it could take until 2085 to close the pay gap between men and women; until 2045 for Black Caribbean 11-year-olds to close the attainment gap in English and Maths; and on current trends the employment penalty facing disabled people may never be eliminated.

The chair of the Equalities Review Panel, Trevor Phillips, says: ‘This Report is entirely about one of the – if not the – most cherished aspirations of the British people: to live in a society that is fair and free, and which provides for each individual to realise his or her potential to the fullest. At root, this is what we should mean by an equal society.’

The report recommends ten steps to greater equality, including:

  • a new framework to measure progress towards equality, including an ‘Equalities Scorecard’ which employers, public service providers and others can use to get a true picture of equality gaps
  • a new, simpler but broader positive duty for public sector bodies to tackle inequality – both as service providers and as employers
  • a simpler legislative framework that will enable groups as well as individuals to take action
  • new flexibility for employers to use positive action (though the report does not argue for positive discrimination)
  • a more sophisticated and proportionate enforcement regime, overseen by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights
  • targeted action on persistent inequalities in the fields of early years and education, employment, health, and crime and criminal justice.

Phillips add: ‘It will take many years to remove the remaining barriers to equality. In some cases, unless we accelerate progress, it is unlikely that disadvantage will ever be overcome. We have to act now.’

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