Azara Blog: UK Equality minister sets out plans to legalise more inequality

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Date published: 2008/06/26

The BBC says:

Equality minister Harriet Harman has set out plans to allow firms to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minority job candidates.

She said firms should be able to choose a woman over a man of equal ability if they wanted to - or vice versa.

The new Equalities Bill will also force employers to disclose salary structures in a bid to close the gender pay gap.

The plans, which will be adopted first across England then Wales and Scotland, will also ban all age discrimination.

Setting out the plans in a Commons statement, Ms Harman said the proposed bill - due later this year - would "address the serious inequalities that still exist" in the UK.
The bill will also seek to stop pensioners being denied NHS treatment because of their age, although doctors will still be able to refuse treatment if they believe there are sound clinical reason for doing so.

Age discrimination will also be outlawed in the provision of goods and services, although there could be exemptions for things like holiday aimed at certain age groups.

Only in Britain would the "Equality" minister bring forward proposals to introduce yet more inequality into law. Although the BBC spin in the article claims that it's possible that women, and not just men, could be discriminated against, in fact the real idea is that men, in particular white middle-aged men, will be the target of government-sanctioned discrimination. And unless the NHS is going to be given millions upon millions of pounds in extra money, it is obvious that the government is forcing the NHS to throw yet more scarce money at old people (who already consume most of the NHS budget) which would be better spent on younger people.

Needless to say, in this bill the devil will be in the detail. But one of the problems with introducing a Mickey Mouse cabinet position like the Equality minister is that the minister is forced to come up with these kind of crackpot proposals in order to justify her existence. (The fact that people like her will benefit from the new discrimination is of course entirely coincidental.)

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