Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 13:30 GMT
Race bill disappoints campaigners
The death of Stephen Lawrence has prompted legal changes
The reform of the Race Relations Act, designed to target discrimination within public bodies, has been branded "disappointing" by the Commission for Racial Equality.
The outgoing chairman of the CRE, Sir Herman Ouseley, warned the government that it had passed up a unique opportunity to eradicate racial discrimination.
The bill would extend the Race Relations Act 1976 to make it unlawful for a public authority to discriminate directly in carrying out any of its functions.
It would also make chief police officers liable for racial discrimination committed by their officers. This would bring the police into line with other employers.
The new bill is a direct result of the recommendations made in the Macpherson report earlier this year into the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The CRE argues that the amended act would only cover direct discrimination rather than tackling indirect discrimination.
The CRE, the TUC and many other bodies have long been campaigning for new measures to combat racism in the workplace.
They want the government to introduce an enforceable duty on public bodies to combat racism and promote racial equality.
The CRE has the backing of Labour MP Oona King, who plans to retable a House of Commons Early Day Motion in support of the CRE's proposals.
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