Phil Stevens, Chair of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association, wrote the following letter to SLF members, regarding the Enterprise and Regulations Reform Bill currently before Parliament. George Potter has written the accompanying briefing note.
I am writing to you about the Enterprise and Regulations Reform Bill which is currently at Committee Stage in the House of Lords. If this Bill is passed it will directly go against the founding principles of the Social Liberal Forum; by doing great damage to social justice.
This Bill proposes to remove the ECHR (Commission for Equality and Human Rights) duty to work to eliminate prejudice and hate towards minority groups including the minority group I represent, disability.
Clause 3 of the Bill will repeal section 3 of the Equality Act 2006, which currently obliges the EHRC to act “with a view to encouraging and supporting the development of a society in which people’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination”. Far from assisting in opening employment opportunities and working towards narrowing the gap in power, between the rich and the poor; it will only widen it.
Certain clauses of this Bill will make it even harder for members of minority groups, such as the disabled to find work and provides loopholes that endorse discrimination and injure employment rights.
We in the Liberal Democrat Disability Association (LDDA) have written to all Liberal Democrat Peers, highlighting our concerns. One of our members, George Potter, has prepared a briefing on the Bill which you can read below, which details how Clause 56(1)(a), Clause 56(1)(b), Clause 57 and Clause 58 would have a detrimental impact on people with disabilities, and indeed many other minority groups.
As a party, we uphold the ideology of equality and fairness in society, and it seems to us, as people with disabilities; the Clauses I have mentioned go against the very ethos of the Liberal Democrats.
I would urge you all, as individual members to speak out against this Bill by contacting our MPs and Peers, and asking them to stand up for the rights of all minority groups, including disabled people.
Liberal Democrat Disability Association, Chairperson