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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 07:46 GMT
Mayor fights plans to scrap CRE
Ken Livingstone
The mayor said current provisions in the Bill were unacceptable
London's mayor has criticised plans to replace a race watchdog with a new "multi-equality body".

The government wants a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) to take responsibility for gender, race and disability discrimination.

But Ken Livingstone fears losing the Commisson for Racial Equality (CRE) could mean less money for race issues.

And he wants changes to the Equality Bill to ensure the commission has black and Asian members.

Mr Livingstone said black and Asian Londoners should raise concerns with their MPs, who will be voting on the Bill next week.

'Not acceptable'

He said disabled people had successfully lobbied for a disabled commissioner, and a disability committee at the CEHR - and this should be extended to others represented by the commission.

"As Lord Ouseley has pointed out, the current proposals could end up creating an equality commission where all the commissioners are white men. This is not acceptable," he said.

The CRE was the only one of the three current equality watchdogs to oppose the first plans for the CEHR, which the government said would strengthen existing bodies.

But chairman Trevor Phillips later welcomed "improvements" made to the original White Paper proposals.

The Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission are expected to be merged into the CEHR when it is formed in 2007.

However, it is believed the CRE will continue in its current form until 2009.

Ministers have said the creation of one equality body is an important part of a vision of a "more equal and cohesive society" and would, for the first time, provide institutional support for human rights.


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