Further memorandum from the Carnegie Third
Following our session with the Committee last
week, I have been doing some reflection and further work on the
issue on integration which we discussed there. I thought it might
be helpful for you to have the following list of reasons why I
and others believe that a policy of integration makes sense.
By a policy of integration, I mean:
(a) that instead of progressing individual
Bills relating to age, religion and sexuality in order to fulfil
the requirements of the EU Equal Treatment Directive, Government
should bring forward a single, consolidating measure, incorporating
the existing statutes relating to race, gender and disability,
which would make it unlawful to discriminate unfairly on any ground
either in employment or in the provision of goods and services;
(b) that instead of creating new statutory
commissions for age, religion and sexuality to correspond to the
existing commissions for race, gender and disability, Government
should take the opportunity to create a new, single commission
which would integrate the roles of the existing commissions within
an all-embracing equality remit.
The reasons for advocating this integrated approach
are as follows:
It would reduce both the volume and the complexity
of existing UK equality legislation instead of adding three new
statutes to those already in force.
It would take a uniform approach across the various
causes of discrimination, focusing on the promotion of diversity
rather than the prohibition of a growing list of different forms
It would remedy the inconsistencies between the
existing statutes, including the confusing variation in their
application to employment and the provision of goods and services,
and the inconsistencies between the remits of the existing commissions.
It would I believe be preferable to both employers
and providers of goods and servicesreflecting the best
practice of both by addressing equality and diversity issues in
a positive, holistic manner as distinct from a negative, piecemeal
It would respond to the often-expressed concern
of employers and their organisations to avoid what they see as
the increasingly complex and burdensome load of regulation.
While employers might once have preferred to
have no regulation in these areas, our research (related to ageof
which you have a copy) indicates a strong employer view that if
they are to be regulated, it should be done in an integrated manner.
It would forestall pressures for legislation
to cover causes of discrimination not so far covered either by
UK legislation or the Directive.
It would avoid the absurdity of Government having
to choose between the creation of three new commissions or having
no commissions dedicated to the three new areas.
It would reduce long-term cost through the economy
of scale of a single commission.
It would reflect the positive experience of both
Northern Ireland and New Zealand of operating in this way.
It would save Parliamentary time by combining
discussion to a single Bill rather than three separate Bills.
It would follow the recommendations of the respected
independent Cambridge review chaired by Professor Hepple, whose
publication was marked by a remarkable measure of agreement between
the CBI, TUC and the existing equality commissions as to the desirable
long-term direction of equality legislation and structures.
In conclusion, I believe that these reasons
combine to form a very powerful case indeed for pursuing an integrated
approach. I recognise that there may well be matters related specifically
to age and other equality issues which might need to be addressed
as suchfor example the questions of genuine occupational
qualifications and mandatory retirement ages. However, I believe
that it would be far preferable to address these in the context
of an integrated Bill rather than in a separate Bill with all
I hope this is helpful and would be happy to
discuss or elaborate in any way you might wish.
The Carnegie Third Age Programme