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Budget cuts for the Equality and Human Rights Commission

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The Government has announced that the budget for the publicly funded Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) is to be reduced by almost 60 per cent.

The Commission exists to “protect, enforce and promote equality across the seven ‘protected’ grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment”. It currently has 460 employees and enjoys a budget of £53 million. The proposed cuts mean that the number of employees is set to come down to 200 and the budget to £22.5 million.

A Government spokesperson has stated that the EHRC had “not been careful enough with taxpayers’ money and that has to change”.

The budget reduction will be met with relief bysome, particularly Christians, after EHRC involvement in cases relating to the issue of religious freedom. It was the EHRC that funded and led the recent case against Christian B&B owners Peter and Hazel-Mary Bull, who were ordered to pay compensation to a homosexual couple because they refused to allow them to share a room in their B&B, which had a married couple’s only policy for double rooms.

According to its own website, the EHRC “is well equipped to take legal action on behalf of individuals, especially where there are strategic opportunities to push the boundaries of the law.”

The EHRC works very closely with Stonewall, the homosexual rights lobby group. It has far-reaching powers to enforce equality duties but the ideology which it has promoted has left it open to criticism.

Julian Glover commented in the Guardian that the EHRC’s “definition of a fair society is one that champions the constant reduction of unequal outcomes.”

“I think the EHRC has a wrongheaded idea of fairness. It measures the extent to which people’s lives are different, and then calculates the action needed to make them more the same. The assumption is that equality is what we all want.”

Mr Glover suggested that a valid alternative to enforcing equal outcomes would be to provide everyone with equality of opportunity.

The EHRC recently released a 750-page report on inequality in Britain entitled ‘How fair is Britain?’ which failed to mention any of the high profile religious liberty cases which have hit the headlines in recent years.

In 2009 the EHRC lobbied against the free speech protections in the Coroners and Justice Bill.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, commented:

“The EHRC has consistently acted against freedom of conscience and freedom of speech and has enthusiastically advanced a homosexual rights orientated equalities agenda in this nation, to the detriment of Christians.”


PSC News
The Times (£)

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