A More Equal Society
The Labour Party is the party of equality and seeks to build a society and a world free from all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Labour has a strong record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms that we can be proud of.
Labour brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Minimum Wage and introduced Sure Start. Every progressive piece of equality legislation has been delivered by Labour.
Under the Conservatives, progress is being rolled back for women, people with disabilities, LGBT people and BAME communities. Cuts to public services and social security are landing disproportionately on women and ethnic minorities, with 86 per cent of the money raised from the Tories’ tax and social security changes coming from women’s pockets.
Devastating cuts to the Equality and Human Rights Commission by the Conservatives reveal their real attitude, beyond the rhetoric, to issues of equality and discrimination. These cuts have been made amid the rise in hate crime recorded by the police in the last year.
A Labour government will enhance the powers and functions of this commission, making it truly independent, to ensure it can support ordinary working people to effectively challenge any discrimination they may face.
The advances for women in Britain and around the world have been fought and won by determined women working together for real change, often in the face of resistance and even abuse.
Labour has a proud record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms. We brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Minimum Wage and introduced Sure Start. Ours will be a government for women, with a cabinet of at least 50 per cent women, which fights inequality and misogyny in every part of society.
A Labour government will gender audit all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation.
Violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic, affecting an estimated one in three women worldwide. In the UK, on average two women are killed by their current or a former partner every week. Under the Conservatives, over a third of all local authority funding to domestic and sexual violence services was already cut by 2012.
Labour will appoint a new commissioner to enforce minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence. A Violence Against Women Commissioner would also provide stable central funding for women’s refuges and rape crisis centres and encourage sharing of best practice between local authorities.
Maternity discrimination under the Conservatives is out of control, almost doubling in the past ten years. Many mothers are reluctant to raise complaints about discrimination and unfair treatment. Unlawful maternity and pregnancy discrimination is now more common in Britain’s workplaces than ever before, with 54,000 pregnant women and new mothers forced out of their jobs in 2015. Labour will reverse the unfair employment tribunal fees which literally price people out of justice. Labour will also extend the time period for applying for maternity discrimination to the employment tribunal from three to six months.
Labour will work with the Health and Safety Executive to make mandatory a workplace risk assessment for pregnant women so necessary adaptions can be made, and review support for women who have miscarriages.
Labour has a proud record of championing the fight for LGBT equality.We abolished Section 28, equalised the age of consent, created civil partnerships, and it was only through Labour votes that equal marriage became law. However, there is still a long way to go on issues such as education, equal access to public services, levels of LGBT hate crime, and mental and physical wellbeing.
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect Trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and remove other outdated language such as ‘transsexual’.
To tackle bullying of LGBT young people, Labour will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them. And we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.
Likewise, we will ensure all frontline health and social care professionals receive ongoing training to understand and meet the needs of LGBT patients and service users. Labour will ensure that NHS England completes the trial programme to provide PrEP as quickly as possible, and fully roll out the treatment to high-risk groups to help reduce HIV infection.
Now more than ever, we need to celebrate the profound and enriching transformation brought by the diversity of people in this country, with all their different experiences, talents and contributions.
Today Black and Asian-owned businesses are an important and growing feature of our economy and society. These businesses are important not just because of their financial contribution; they have also helped transform particular sectors of the economy.
We should all be deeply troubled by the rise in racially aggravated attacks and race hate crime in the past year. Anti-Semitic incidents are also on the rise once more and we are committed to combating this trend with adequate resources and firm political will.
Commissioning a report on our own party was an unprecedented step in British politics, demonstrating a commitment to tackling prejudice wherever it is found. Labour is already acting on recommendations, including reform of internal disciplinary procedures to make them firmer and fairer, and expansion of training to tackle anti-Semitism. On a matter of such importance, Labour urges all democratic political parties to do the same.
We will end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and protect the right to lead a nomadic way of life.
Black and Asian workers still suffer a massive pay gap. By introducing equal pay audit requirements on large employers, Labour will close this pay gap. By making the Minimum Wage a real Living Wage, we will benefit ethnic minority workers who are more likely to be on low pay.
We will implement the Parker Review recommendations to increase ethnic diversity on the boards of Britain’s largest companies.
People with Disabilities
Over the last seven years, people with disabilities have been failed by the Conservative government.
People with disabilities have been vilified with divisive rhetoric like ‘scroungers’ and ‘shirkers’. In this climate, recorded disability hate crime has increased.
Last year the UN published a report concluding that the Conservative government had committed “grave, systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities”.
Currently, 4.2 million People with disabilities live in poverty in Britain, and the disability employment gap remains stubbornly high.
The previous Labour government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The next Labour government will sign the UNCRPD into UK law.
Labour will act to tackle discrimination, remove barriers and ensure social security delivers dignity and empowerment, not isolation and stigma. Labour will legislate to make terminal illness a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.
Autism covers a wide range of conditions that reflect neurological differences among people. We will work with employers, trade unions and public services to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace and in society.
Labour will give British Sign Language full recognition as a recognised language.
Link to full manifesto (PDF)
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