Clause 38

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 23 June 2009.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 10:30, 23 June 2009

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr. Benton, as we prepare to consider these measures. The amendments are multi-technical and seek clarification. During the evidence sessions at the start of our deliberations, there was some discussion with representatives of the insurance industry about contract workers. I want to clarify whether the Government are clear about the comparator for the clause and to know whether, when talking about discrimination against contractors, we are talking about discrimination against contracted workers without a protected characteristic or non-contract workers, such as regular employees, as the relevant comparator. I hope that the comparator that the Minister puts on the record is straightforward.

The evidence session a couple of weeks ago sounded a few warning bells in my mind, and it is important that we clarify matters. Without trying your patience too much, Mr. Benton, I want to highlight the fact that all members of the Committee are aware that separate measures that are before the House will impact on contract and agency workers, and I want to ensure that the Bill is not a stealthy way to achieve something that is supposed to be in those measures and that it will do what it is intended to do, rather than something broader. I hope that the Minister can put our minds at rest.