Post by Colin Henderson on Jul 20, 2016 8:39:08 GMT
We covered the original round of cuts to EHRC in this thread, now there are even more, reducing the service to a token presence: The government has imposed a 25 percent cut to the budget of the EHRC, which holds the government to account on its record on equality and human rights, over the next four years, as announced in the autumn statement and spending review. The commission, which advises public services such as the police on how to stop racism, has already seen its budget cut from £70m to £22m, representing a drop of 69 percent since 2010 when the Tories returned to power as part of the coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
Based on the commission's internal consultation these cuts seem likely to lead to a significant reduction in headcount, with 26 posts at the lowest pay grades identified for the axe immediately, and there is an explicit threat of compulsory redundancies. This would see the number of full-time equivalent plummet to 176 staff, compared to the 525 it was expected to employ in 2007.
If these cuts go ahead: - there will be just three case workers left to support people suffering discrimination at work, having a huge impact on frontline services which help people get access to justice. - there will be just four staff to handle all the public's questions about equality at work and just one person to liaise with parliament. - the commission’s offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle will also be closed. - there will be a reduction in the number of staff supporting the statutory disability committee and the disability programme of work. This is the team responsible for responding to the recommendations made in the House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability, which investigated the act's impact on disabled people.
Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah, PCS head of political campaigns and equality, said: "These relentless Tory attacks on the EHRC, as part of their vicious and needless austerity agenda, affect us all and if not successfully defeated will have a terrible impact on society now and for future generations. The UK should have the values of fairness and respect at its core, but they are seriously undermined by this government. They are intent on destroying the very fabric of human rights and equality legislation that underpins our society, as well as removing vital resources for people when they need them most."
Siobhan Endean, Unite national officer for equalities, community youth and not for profit sector, said: “We believe that these proposals will massively set back the progress in equality and human rights that this country has made in recent decades and will further undermine this small but vital agency, and it's not just the workers who will be affected by these cuts. There will also be a devastating impact on the vital services that the Commission provides. The impact will be felt widely, particularly by victims of discrimination or human rights abuses who don’t qualify for legal aid, can’t afford tribunal fees, aren’t a member of a trade union, and whose local law centre or CAB has closed."