New Clause 12 — Equality Act 2010: third party harassment of employees and applicants

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 16th October 2012.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 4:00 pm, 16th October 2012

I accept the hon. Lady’s genuine concern about the issue she has raised: there is far too much of an equality gap in our society and between young white and black men. Of course, the Government are committed to tackling that. However, I question whether she really believes that section 3 of the 2006 Act will do that. The message that this sends is that this Government are committed to equality but focused on really making a difference. [ Interruption. ] I hear the shadow Secretary of State, Mr Umunna, murmuring various things from a sedentary position, but if he really thinks that the EHRC, which was bequeathed to us by the previous Government, was functioning well and was effective, I do not know what planet he is living on. We should consider what has been said about the organisation’s effectiveness. Its accounts were not being signed off and it was wasting money; £866,000 was spent on a website that was never launched. It was not functioning well. It is important that we focus it on its specific duties, and that is what our amendments will do.