Govt plans to scrap green, & equalities acts


9:30 am - April 18th 2011

by Don Paskini    


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The government has launched a new website called ‘Red Tape Challenge’, inviting people to comment on different regulations which could be scrapped.

Amongst the regulations up for discussion are the Climate Change and Equalities Acts. This raises some interesting questions:

1. Are there any circumstances under which the Tories and Lib Dems would really consider scrapping these acts?

2. If not, why are they consulting about it?

3. What kind of demented wingnuts would spend time and money on a consultation exercise to find out whether tackling discrimination and climate change are examples of ‘red tape’?

You can find out more at www.redtapechallenge.cabinet office.gov.uk

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Reader comments


I don’t think it would be legally possible to “scrap” (by which I assume we mean ‘repeal’) either act, because they both repealed, replaced and consolidated numerous other acts.

ISTR, in the case of the Equalities Act, it replaced no fewer than nine separate bits of legislation.

But there are enough sections of either act that could legitimately be deemed overly onerous on small business in these troubled times that it’s certainly worth the consuitation.

2. Flowerpower

Don,

What kind of demented wingnuts would spend time and money on a consultation exercise to find out whether tackling discrimination and climate change are examples of ‘red tape’?

I’m a trustee of a trust that runs a local community amenity. Our premises have three entrances. Although we do not have wheelchair users among our regular clientele, we felt we ought to ensure a wheelchair user could get in, so we spent £3,000 adapting one of our entrances to provide wheelchair access.

Now our solicitor has sent a heads-up warning that under the new provisions of the Equalities Act, we could face a discrimination suit from a disabled person. The logic (if you can fairly call it that) is that because able-bodied users can enter by three entrances but disabled users can enter by only one entrance, the disabled suffer a comparative disadvantage amounting to discrimination.

The cost of adapting the other two entrances would be much larger – we just can’t afford to do it. This whole thing seems crazy and Catch 22ish….. and it may be that no court would support such a claim. However, the trustees have been advised to seek Counsel’s opinion….. at a cost of £1300.

Thousand of organizations are getting similar warnings…. the Equalities Act seems to be very vague and unclear and no-one can be sure where they stand until there’s a body of case law. Meanwhile, it feels oppressive and stupid to many of those affected.

@ 2 , Even with out the Equalities Act a disabled person could claim discrimination against the organistion if they felt that is the case. I do feel though that most disabled people are very reasonable in which case the Act doesn’t need scrapping but maybe needs looking at to make it more workable and reasonable. The Act brings more good than not.

4. Robert Anderson

You are forgetting one thing Don! These are nutters of the very right wing nastiest kind who literally believe in the surival of the fittest. Do not underestimate their ability to attack the very fabric of a civilised society under the guise of freedom!

Are there any circumstances under which the Tories and Lib Dems would really consider scrapping these acts?

I very much doubt it.

If not, why are they consulting about it?

While “shall we scrap this lot all together” is a silly question that doesn’t mean that every clause in them is a paragon of perfect law. So consulting on the content of those Acts can still be a worthwhile exercise.

Anyway I’m off to complain about the definition of “overload flowrate” in the Amendment of the Measuring Instruments (Gas Meters) Regulations 2006

1. Are there any circumstances under which the Tories and Lib Dems would really consider scrapping these acts?

Probably not.

2. If not, why are they consulting about it?

Because individual provisions within these Acts might be counter-productive, unnecessary, harmful, stupid or a combination of the above.

3. What kind of demented wingnuts would spend time and money on a consultation exercise to find out whether tackling discrimination and climate change are examples of ‘red tape’?

The kind that don’t think simply because something’s called the “Sunshine and Bunnies Act 2010” that it’s perfect in every respect and must never be changed? Just as an example, the ‘socialism in one clause’ section of the Equality Act was identified as imposing a bureaucratic burden way out of proportion to any benefit. It has since been scrapped.

I don’t think anybody is saying we shouldn’t have legislation related to equalities and the environment.

However, some people believe that current legislation which covers those two areas could be revised or replaced.

@2. Flowerpower:

Your solicitor was trying it on to drum up a bit of business (notice how they get paid when you seek “legal counsel”?).

There is no way on this earth a disabled person would win that case against you. The law requires service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”, nothing more. Making one door accessible would be a reasonable adjustment. Any more would be considered “full access” and is not what the law requires. Notice how many huge chain shops there are around with only a ramp at one door and steps at the other. These are huge companies with the financial means to make all doors accessible but they don’t because the law doesn’t demand it.

Secondly, there’s no way a disabled person would bring that case against you. Do you have any idea how stressful and emotionally exhausting it is to bring a disability discrimination case? No-one does it just for fun. You have to be really treated badly to even consider bringing a case. No-one would do it over not being able to use every door when there’s a door that’s usable. And no-one would bring a case that will never, ever, win. It’s too much stress for a sure fire loser.

My advice? Find a solicitor that doesn’t try to claw money out of you by sending you bullshit letters.

The idea of scrapping anti-discrimination legislation at the same time they want people off benefits and into jobs is farcical: http://wheresthebenefit.blogspot.com/2011/04/red-tape-challenge.html

10. Flowerpower

Lisa @ 8

There is no way on this earth a disabled person would win that case against you.

maybe. but a year ago I’d have thought that no way on earth would a convicted murderer win a case about having the right to vote. Or a white van man face the sack for having a cross on his dashboard.


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