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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July 2005, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Equality Bill
AIM
This bill establishes a single Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) and makes religous discrimination illegal.

MAIN PROVISIONS
BILL'S PROGRESS
Responsible department: Dept for Trade & Industry
Origin: House of Lords
Introduced: 18 May 2005
Second reading: 15 June 2005
Committee stage: 6,11,13 & 18 July 2005
Report stage: 19 Oct 2005
Third reading: 9 Nov 2005
Consideration of Commons Amendments: 13 Feb 2006
COMMONS:
First reading: 11 Nov 2005
Second reading: 21 Nov 2005
Committee stage: 29 Nov & 1, 6 & 8 Dec 2005
Remaining stages: 16 Jan 2006

ROYAL ASSENT: 17 Feb 2006
  • The new commission will act as a single point of contact to oversee existing anti-discrimination legislation
  • It closes a loophole to prevent discrimination against Jews and Sikhs - although not specifically against multi-ethnic religous groups
  • Introduces a "gender duty" on organisations to eliminate sexual discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity between men and women

    BACKGROUND
    The legislation emanates from the 2003 consultation paper 'Equality and Diversity: Making it Happen'.

    The single CEHR replaces the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission and will have a duty to promote human rights.

    The separate commissions will enter in phases - after the chair and commissioners have been appointed in 2006 - until they are all incorporated by 2008/09.

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