NAVCA and Voice4Change England alarmed by Government equalities ‘backwards step’

News release from Voice4Change England and NAVCA

Voice4Change England21st May 2012

For immediate releaseNAVCA

NAVCA and Voice4Change England alarmed by Government equalities ‘backwards step’

Voice4Change England and NAVCA have responded with alarm to last week’s equalities announcement by the Home Office, calling it a backwards step. Last week’s Home Office statement, on the outcome of the Equalities Red Tape Challenge and Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), confirmed the Government will repeal the Socio-economic Duty and delay the implementation of the Dual Discrimination Duty.

The Government also announced plans to review the EHRC’s budget. NAVCA and Voice4Change England are concerned by reports that £10m of grants would be cut from the EHRC budget. Currently 61 local equality organisations receive grant funding; this measure will damage local equality groups.

Vandna Gohil, Director of Voice4Change England, said;
“There is a wealth of research showing spending cuts are disproportionately impacting on the BME voluntary and community sector and the communities they represent.

Plans to cut £10m grant funding from the EHRC budget will decimate local groups providing legal and anti-discrimination services. These groups are the only route to advice and advocacy for society’s most vulnerable communities. The decision will mean fewer people exercising their rights under equality legislation and more employers, public bodies and individuals will get away with discrimination.

By repealing these duties, the Government is suggesting that equality and efficiency are incompatible, but there is nothing cost effective about worsening disadvantage and social injustice for already vulnerable communities. ’

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;
“Public spending cuts and job losses are hitting the already disadvantaged hardest. These proposals ditch pledges the government espoused only two years ago. I am saddened that local groups working hard to bind communities together are set to suffer more grant cuts. At a time like this, we should be strengthening equalities support, not painting essential rights as meaningless red tape” 

Ends 

Notes:
1. A list of the 61 equality groups receiving grant funding from the EHRC. http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/pdfs/list_of_61_successful_applicants.pdf

2. The Home office statement http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/parliamentary-business/written-ministerial-statement/red-tape-reform-ehrc/

3. Voice4Change England is a national advocate for the Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary and community sector (BMS VCS).
OUR VISION: A stronger and inclusive civil society to meet the needs of BME and other disadvantaged communities.
OUR MISSION: To strengthen the BME VCS to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities.

4. NAVCA is the national voice of local support and development organisations in England. We champion and strengthen voluntary and community action by supporting our members in their work with over 160,000 local charities and community groups. NAVCA believes that voluntary and community action is vital for vibrant and caring communities.

For further information contact:
Barney Mynott, Policy and Communications Manager
Email barney.mynott@navca.org.uk
0114 289 3985

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