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BUREAUCRACY THREAT TO NEW EQUALITY POWER

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Plans to introduce stronger powers to tackle inequalities are arousing concerns that a clear focus will become dilu...
Plans to introduce stronger powers to tackle inequalities are arousing concerns that a clear focus will become diluted in bureaucracy.

Receiving Royal Assent last week, the Equality Act creates a body to look at prejudice based on race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation and religion and belief. The Commission for Equality & Human Rights will bring together the work of the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission from October 2007, while the Commission for Racial Equality will join in 2009.

The idea is to provide a clearer focus when working with individuals, communities, businesses and public services by placing expertise on equality, diversity and human rights under one umbrella.

Birmingham City Council's head of equality and diversity, Mashuq Ally, largely welcomed the Act. However, he said: 'There is the danger it could become a huge bureaucratic body that does nothing but sap our energy.'

Employers' Organisation chair and mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock (Lab), said: 'We want the body to work with individuals, helping them get in touch with local organisations.'
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