Need for increased fairness highlighted by Equality Review
The final Equalities Review report has proposed the need for a ten-step programme, designed to tackle discrimination and make the UK fairer, more equal and comfortable with its diversity.
The report - produced by an inquiry led by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights - includes the recommendations that a simpler legislative framework which will allow both groups and individuals to take action should be introduced, along with a more sophisticated and proportionate enforcement regime, overseen by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.
Mr Phillips said: "People face inequality in many forms - not only on the grounds of race, gender or disability but also sexual orientation, age, gender identity, and religion or belief.
"They struggle because of outdated attitudes and systemic failures. It will take many years to remove the remaining barriers to equality. In some cases, unless we accelerate progress, it is unlikely that disadvantage will ever be overcome. We have to act now.
"We need a new definition of equality that will be relevant to our society now and in the future."
The commission becomes operational in October 2007 and the report recommends that it should review the ten-step plan every three years. The government's response to the review is due in autumn 2007.