Women and Equalities Select Committee report: Ensuring Strong Equalities Legislation After Brexit

The Women and Equalities Select Committee published a report on ensuring strong equalities legislation after Brexit in February 2017, following the earlier inquiry.

The report recommends that the Government should:

  • introduce an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 to empower Parliament and the Courts to declare whether legislation is compatible with UK principles of equality, comparable to similar provisions in the Human Rights Act;
  • include a clause in the Great Repeal Bill that explicitly commits to maintaining the current levels of equality protection when EU law is transposed into UK law;
  • develop a cross-government equality strategy in order to ensure that all government departments take action on equality, and to provide a platform for linking into civil society organisations; and
  • map the extent of research and other equality projects currently receiving EU funds and to replace and ring-fence these funds to allow research on equalities to continue undisrupted.

Our Chief Executive, Ali Harris, said:

EDF warmly welcome the report from the Women and Equalities Select Committee on ‘Ensuring strong equality legislation after the EU exit’.  The Committee agreed with many witnesses that the government needs to take active steps to embed equality into domestic law and policy.  The Committee considered not just the case for maintaining existing rights, but also what provisions are needed to enhance and expand protections after exit from the EU.

EDF view this as essential as key concepts in equality and discrimination law are not static. It has only been ten years, for example, since age discrimination was outlawed. Before that job adverts commonly stipulated a maximum age limit for applicants, often as low as forty. Changes in the law ended this discriminatory practice.

We welcome the four positive recommendations made by the committee which seek to embed equality into the UK legislative and policy framework, specifically aided by civil society organisations.”

Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said:

“If the Government wants to maintain the current level of equality protection for vulnerable groups including pregnant women and disabled travellers, it must take active steps to embed equality into UK law. Our recommendations would go a long way to ensuring that the UK retains a strong and undiminished record of equality after it leaves the EU.”

Read a summary, recommendations, or the full report.

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