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Equality Bill

Volume 711: debated on Monday 1 June 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek the agreement of the Northern Ireland Executive for the Equality Bill to extend to Northern Ireland in relation to amendments to, and re-enactment of, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. [HL3739]

The decision on whether or not to seek the extension of the Equality Bill to Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved Administration.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the report on the informal exercise on the extent to which some communities believe caste is a continuing social phenomenon within British society and on the question of whether there is evidence that individuals have been discriminated against on that ground; and what implications that exercise has for the Equality Bill. [HL3780]

To ask Her Majesty's Government why caste is not one of the protected characteristics listed in Clause 4 of the Equality Bill. [HL3781]

Caste has not been included within the scope of the Equality Bill because there is insufficient evidence that caste discrimination is a significant problem in Great Britain in the specific fields that discrimination law covers: namely, in employment; vocational training; the provision of goods, facilities and services; private clubs; the management or disposal of premises; education; and the exercise of public functions.

The informal exercise on the issue of caste that we conducted last year was intended to enable officials to gain a better understanding of the issues and to offer stakeholders the opportunity to put forward evidence of caste-based discrimination. It was not a formal consultation exercise and the Government do not plan to publish a report on the replies that were received.

The Government are keeping the matter under review and my officials will shortly be meeting representatives of organisations with an interest.