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Equal to what?

August 23, 2012

The measure is not anticipated to impact on groups with protected characteristics any more than on those without such characteristics.” (Tax Impact Assessment, bottom section of page 29)

Uhuh.

Let’s unpack that a little, shall we?

The Treasury and HMRC are covered by the Public Sector duty of the 2010 Equality Act.  So they’re required to give due regard to equality issues while they’re making policy, for example (as the Government Equalities Office guidance says)

Having due regard means consciously thinking about the three aims of the Equality Duty as part of the process of decision-making.

So here we are, thinking consciously about the equality duty as part of our decision making, and we’ve decided what we’re proposing doesn’t impact on groups with protected characteristics any more than it does on people without such characteristics, right?

Um…

What protected characteristics are we talking about, then?

Well the Equalities Office has helpfully listed them for us here:

The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Duty are:

• age

• disability

• gender reassignment

• marriage and civil partnership (but only in respect of eliminating unlawful discrimination)

• pregnancy and maternity

• race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality

• religion or belief – this includes lack of belief

• sex

• sexual orientation

So “being a man” would be a protected characteristic, for example, and you would, if you had that protected characteristic, be protected from being treated less favourably than someone with a different protected characteristic such as, oh, say, “being a woman.”

Similarly “being aged 26” is a protected characteristic and you are protected at 26 from being treated less favourably than someone with a different protected characteristic such as, say, “being aged 96”.

Similarly, “being from Yorkshire” is as protected a characteristic as “being from New York”.

So tell me, please, how we have given due regard to equality by deciding that this measure won’t affect people with protected characteristics any more than it will affect people without protected characteristics?  Show me a person without a protected characteristic.  Who has no age, sex or national origin?

It’s logical rubbish, and shows contempt for the whole process.  Shame on you!

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