Protected Characteristics: Caste

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

With reference to the written statement of 23 July 2018, HCWS898, when she plans to bring forward proposals to remove caste as a protected characteristic from the Equality Act 2010.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

I would like to make it clear that caste is not a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010. Case law has shown that a claim of caste discrimination may already qualify for protection under the race provisions in the Act. We therefore intend to repeal the uncommenced duty in the Act to make caste an explicit aspect of race discrimination as soon as practicable.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

I welcome my hon. Friend to her place to answer my regular questions on this particular topic. The fact is that we have had a large-scale consultation of the community. We have had a written ministerial statement making it clear that we are going to remove this protected characteristic from the Equality Act. So I urge her to bring forward, without delay, proposals to remove this unnecessary, ill-thought-out and divisive move in the Equality Act 2010.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. We do agree with him. The Government completely oppose any discrimination because of a person’s origins, including any perception of their caste, and we do remain committed to repealing the duty as soon as the opportunity arises.