Legislative programme in Queen's Speech should help create a better society

Commission response to the legislative programme in the Queen’s Speech

18 November 2009

John Wadham, Group Director Legal, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

“The programme of legislation should focus on putting laws in place that will create a better society and are built on the principles of fairness and respect. This will help us to build a stronger economy, stronger communities and a country where everyone is able to fulfil their potential.  We will continue to work with Parliament and our stakeholders to ensure the best possible versions of these Bills pass onto the statute book in the coming session.”

Equality Bill

“The Equality Bill is an essential piece of legalisation that will make Britain a fairer place to live. We welcome the commitment made by the Government to carry over the Equality Bill, but enough Parliamentary time must be given to this Bill so that it gets onto the statue books before a general election is called.”

Crime and Security Bill

“The proposals for the use of DNA in the fight against crime must balance the rights of people to be protected from crime and the police’s ability to do their job with the right to privacy. We believe that DNA profiles of innocent people must be destroyed.”

“We welcome public debate on how best to strengthen protection for women who are victims of violence, and how to end the postcode lottery in basic support services for them. Our ‘Map of Gaps’ illustrates that women have nowhere to turn to in some areas of the country.”

Child Poverty Bill & Children, Schools and Families Bill

“Someone’s background should not determine what they can achieve in life. We will be looking at Government proposals on how to close the gap in education achievement, as this is one of our priorities. We also want to see its efforts to eradicate child poverty reaching beyond the age of 16 so that young people are equipped to stay out of poverty throughout their lifetime.”

Ends

For more press information contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

For general enquiries please contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610 / Scotland 0845 604 5510 / Wales 0845 604 8810

Notes to Editors

The Commission will be taking an interest in the following Bills and draft Bills in the next session of parliament:

  • Equality Bill
  • Child Poverty Bill
  • Personal Care at Home Bill
  • Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill
  • Children, Schools and Families Bill
  • Crime and Security Bill
  • Financial Services and Business Bill
  • Immigration Simplification Bill - Draft
  • Civil Law Reform Bill - Draft

Read the full Parliamentary Briefing on the Queen's Speech debate.

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.