According to the Labour Party website the Labour Party will try to achieve the following if they retain power at the 2010 general election on May 6th:

Labour believes that discrimination and inequality on the basis of race, gender, sexuality age, disability, religion or belief or social class has no place in the 21st century. A Labour government will always be a champion for those whose rights need to be protected.

We introduced the Racial and Religious Hatred Act which made it illegal to threaten people because of their religion or to stir up hatred against a person because of their faith and we passed key measures to make society fairer for gay and lesbian people, like repealing Clause 28, lifting the ban on gay membership of the armed forces or equalising the age of consent and offering lesbian couples IVF.

We have also passed a range of laws which have supported women to better balance their work and family life and to tackle low pay. Women in particular have benefitted from the minimum wage, and we have legislated for the right to request flexible working for parents with children aged 16 and under and with disabled children under 18. We have extended paid maternity leave to 9 months and maternity leave to 12 months and given fathers the right to two weeks paid paternity leave helping families in this way helps mothers to balance work and family life helping to end the cycle of women being left behind in the workplace.

The Equality Bill will simplify the law which, over the last four decades, has become complex and difficult to navigate. Nine major pieces of legislation and around 100 statutory instruments will be replaced by a single Act written in plain English to make it easier for individuals and employers to understand their legal rights and obligations.

The Bill will significantly strengthen Britain’s anti-discrimination legislation. It will put a new duty on public bodies, government and local councils to consider how to reduce socio-economic inequalities. It will also require businesses to report their gender pay gap. We will outlaw unfair age discrimination in the provision of goods and services so that older people are not discriminated against. Employers will be allowed to diversify their team where there are equally qualified or suitable candidates.

Labour has led the way when it comes to women’s representation, today we have more women MPs than three times the figure for the Tories and Lib Dems combined. Currently thirteen of Parliament’s fifteen black, Asian or minority ethnic MPs are Labour MPs. The Tories have two and the Lib Dems have none. With nearly 100 Labour women MPs, women make up some 27 per cent of Labour MPs, compared to only 9 per cent of Tory MPs, 17 per cent of Lib Dem MPs. We legislated to increase the number of women in public life and, unlike the Tories; we are acting on that legislation to get more Labour women into Parliament.

The Equality Bill will allow political parties to make use of all women short lists until 2030 if they chose to. The Bill will also allow parties to use positive action measures to support candidates from often underrepresented groups.

Labour Party Equalities Policy :

I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on Labour’s Equalities policies in the comments below?

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