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 5:45 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 5:45 pm, 16th October 2012

The shadow Secretary of State might wish to let me respond to the point raised by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington; then I will see whether I have an opportunity to hear from him.

The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington mentioned the percentage of cuts and bandied about a figure of 62%. It is important to bear in mind that removing functions such as the conciliation service, which are now being provided elsewhere, will clearly result in a reduction in the number of individuals required. That service is no longer being provided by the EHRC. When we take into account the functions that have been transferred, the cuts that the EHRC is dealing with are broadly in line with other public sector cuts. Yes, it would be lovely to be in a situation in which we did not have to make any cuts but, unfortunately, the nature of the economic circumstances that we were left with in 2010 means that that is not possible.