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Travelling People

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 1 September 2009

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment has been made of the effect of the new duties on public authorities in the Equality Bill on Travellers' access to public services. (288263)

Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are covered by the existing race duty as recognised ethnic groups, and will continue to be covered as part of that strand in the forthcoming Equality Duty. This should mean public bodies considering the needs of all groups, including Irish Travellers, when taking decisions and planning services.

When the Bill was published, Government Equalities Office officials assessed the potential impact of the provisions in the Equality Bill, including plans for the Equality Duty, upon stakeholders. The assessment and its conclusions were published. That assessment concluded that the introduction of the Equality Duty would not have any adverse impact on different racial groups.

The other public sector duty in the Equality Bill, covering socio-economic inequalities, should benefit travellers, many of whom suffer significant levels of socio-economic disadvantage.