Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100-104)



  100. What is the progress report on that? I know it is the Cabinet Office rather than you.
  (Mr Weatherill) It was but now as a result of machinery of Government changes the other week it is actually the Department of Trade and Industry I believe. There has been a consultation, you may have seen the document, which Barbara Roche in the Cabinet Office launched at the end of last year on the implementation of the Article 13 Race and Employment Directives with a set of proposals which went out for comment. People were invited to comment by the end of March and there was quite a volume of comment, I think something like getting on for 600 responses were received. My colleagues in DTI are now analysing those comments and there will be something in due course but, as I understand it, not in the immediate future, we will probably have to wait until the autumn before the results of that are announced. Quite how that fits in with the timetable of your own inquiry I am not quite sure and what I can offer on that is we should keep in touch with the clerk so that everyone is in the picture on developments on that.

  101. There is no reason why we should not keep in touch with the DTI in order to be thorough. We would like to know what the situation is.
  (Mr Weatherill) There is a related aspect which I think your question particularly alludes to which is the announcement made by Barbara Roche the other week about the feasibility study which the Government has now set up, the study of the feasibility of what is being called a Single Equality Commission. It is something that would replace the existing commissions which deal with race, gender and disability with a single commission whose remit would also extend to the new equalities, if I can call them those, age, religion and sexuality. This feasibility study has now started and it will also report, we think, in the autumn, so that is something else that the Committee might like to keep in touch with. I cannot myself see any read across from the criminal matters with which this Committee is concerned and the institutional matters with which that study is—

  102. Is that matter also in the hands of the DTI now or has that stayed in the Cabinet Office?
  (Mr Weatherill) As I understand it, the bits of the Cabinet Office that were doing the work have moved to the DTI but Barbara Roche, the Minister in the Cabinet Office, will retain ministerial supervision of that.

  103. We will get into the ramifications of Whitehall at another time. Your understanding is that it will not have any—
  (Mr Weatherill) The key point is I do not see either the work that has already been going on on the implementation of the Race and Employment Directives themselves or this further work on the institutional dimension as impinging directly on the work of your Committee on criminal matters.

  104. Are there any questions that anybody would like to put to our witnesses before we close? Could I thank all three of you very much indeed. I do not guarantee as we make progress on this subject we might not ask you to come back. I will not threaten you with that but, on the other hand, you have promised us some extra material and we might like to look at it with you later on. It certainly will not be before the summer recess. Meanwhile, thank you very much indeed for what you have been able to give us by way of assistance and we will study the transcript with great care.
  (Mr Weatherill) So will we.

  Chairman: Thank you.

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