The Equality Trust, an organisation launched in 2009 by Bill Kerry, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, has been campaigning for the government to trigger the socio-economic duty, section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.
They recently achieved a major step forward when it was announced that the duty would be included in Labour’s draft manifesto.
This is from their website:
The UK is one of the most economically and socially unequal countries in the developed world, however the government does have an opportunity to change this. The UK government has a powerful tool in the form of the socio-economic duty, section 1 of The Equality Act 2010, which would reduce inequality.
Public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities
“An authority to which this section applies must, when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise its functions, have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.”
The socio-economic duty requires public bodies to adopt transparent and effective measures to address the inequalities that result from differences in occupation, education, place of residence or social class. However, successive governments have refused to enact it as law.
Progress has already been made in parts of the UK. In April 2018 the Scottish Parliament enacted the Fairer Scotland Duty, which is the name given to the socio-economic duty in Scotland. A number of local councils in the UK have adopted some of the key policies of the socio-economic duty. Indeed, Newcastle Council has explicitly decided to treat the socio-economic duty as if it were in force.
What are we striving to achieve?
The goal of this campaign is for the government to trigger the socio-economic duty, section 1 of the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Trust is working with Just Fair and 60 other individuals and groups to achieve this. Working under the #1forEquality campaign banner, we are asking for MPs to support our Early Day Motion 591, commencement and enforcement of the socio-economic duty. We currently have the support of 82 MPs.
You can support the campaign by asking your MP to sign our Early Day Motion 591. Visit the #1forEquality website for more information on the campaign, how to contact your MP and to see the full list of supporters. You can also read Just Fair’s report on tackling socio-economic inequalities locally.
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