In a further wide ranging announcement, a 'root and branch' review to investigate the causes of persistent discrimination and inequality in British society has been announced by Equality Minister Jacqui Smith and Minister for the Cabinet Office David Miliband.

It is felt that despite 30 years of legislation to protect people from discrimination, evidence suggests that widespread discrimination persists and it is hoped that this review will provide a sound basis for the development of future policy.

The Equalities Review will be chaired by Trevor Philips and is expected to report to the Prime Minister by the summer of 2006.

The remit of the Equalities Review is to:

  • investigate the social, economic, cultural and other factors that limit or deny people the opportunity to make the best of their abilities;
  • provide an understanding of the long term and underlying causes of disadvantage that need to be addressed by public policy;
  • make practical recommendations on key policy priorities for: the Government and public sector; employers and trade unions; civic society and the voluntary sector; and
  • inform both the modernisation of equality legislation towards a Single Equality Act; and the development of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

The government announced the proposed creation of a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) in the Queen's speech last November. It is intended that the CEHR will harnass the expertise of the current equality Commissions (the Disability Rights Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission) and also provide support for the new equality areas of religion and belief, sexual orientation and age.

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