Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill Final stages briefing

Amendment to reintroduce Clause 64(1)(a): repeal of the Commission's section 3 general duty

Key points

  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) has reflected carefully on arguments both in favour and against repealing its general duty in clause 3 of the Equality Act.
  • The Commission's powers derive from other parts of the Equality Acts and we continue to believe that we would not be prevented for tackling any issues by the removal of the general duty.
  • However, the debate in the Lords and commentary by parties have underlined the importance which is attached to the general duty. Many people clearly believe that, both in terms of the perceived mission and role of the Commission, and the coherence of the legislation, it is valuable to retain the general duty.
  • Unless the government can provide additional robust reasons for removing the general duty in the current situation, our analysis suggests the case for removing the Lords' amendment in the Commons has not been made. The Commission therefore continues to support retention of the general duty and maintaining the position established by the Lords.

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