Harman upbeat on equality overhaul

Workplace diversity boosts productivity, CBI says
Workplace diversity boosts productivity, CBI says

Britain's equality legislation is set for a "decluttering", Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman will say today.

The equality minister is expected to announce details of an overhaul of existing legislation at the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) conference on workplace diversity later today.

Gordon Brown announced an equality bill in his draft Queen's Speech last month. The legislation will make its way through parliament in the 2008/09 session.

"Successive governments have built a framework of equality laws which between them protect people from unfairness and discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability," Ms Harman will say.

"But to work, equality legislation must be clear and understandable - both by those whom it is intended to protect, and by those, like businesses, who are expected to comply with it."

Over 1,000 pages of legislation, from the 1970 Equal Pay Act to the 2006 Equality Act, will be replaced with a single bill summarising the situation.

CBI director general Richard Lambert says he will support the government's efforts.

"Employers are getting on with improving diversity in the workplace - and it is delivering real benefits," he commented.

"Legislation should be there to support them in this task, not to distract them."

A report published today by the CBI shows companies which look to expand their employee diversity reap the benefits through higher morale and productivity, better understanding of consumers' needs and lowered skills shortages.


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