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Equalities Policy

Volume 687: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2021

What steps she is taking to ensure that her policies take a broad approach to equality beyond a focus on protected characteristics. (910497)

What steps she is taking to ensure that her policies take a broad approach to equality beyond a focus on protected characteristics. (910503)

I want to make sure that the equality agenda moves beyond just protected characteristics. Instead, we will make sure that we are focused on every individual in Britain having a fair chance in life and fair access to public services.

I really welcome the Government’s agenda on women and equalities, and I commend my right hon. Friend for her outstanding leadership, but could I please also ask her to reassure me that we will never bow to those who suggest that white people should feel guilty for being white or to those who peddle the notion of white privilege? We are in this together, so will she please undertake today to write to other Government Departments to reinforce that?

Britain is one of the best places in the world to live, no matter what a person’s skin colour, sexuality, religion or anything else is. We need to be positively empowering people in Britain to succeed so that everyone has access to opportunity, and not using positive discrimination. That is the approach we are taking right across Government.

A very happy Lohri for the Dogra community, who are celebrating today. I agree completely with my right hon. Friend on the need to ensure that we move beyond the Equality Act 2010, but first we need to reform it. Will she bring forward proposals to remove caste as a protected characteristic from the Equality Act 2010, so that we can ensure that Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Muslim communities are not disadvantaged in our society?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. Caste is not a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010, and case law has already shown that a claim of caste discrimination could qualify for protection under the race provisions in the Act.