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Diversity and Equality experts prefer Hung Parliament than see Conservative Government

How much will the election and current economic factors affect the equality and diversity agenda? We sought to gain an insight with our first ever survey of Equality and Diversity Practitioners. Had the Equality Act secured the diversity and equality agenda alongside other organisational priorities for the next few years? Or would a change in government potentially put diversity on hold? Would it become a luxury we just cannot afford right now? 

As much as the enactment of the Equality Act gives juice to the idea of a fairer society, it’s hard to rule out the possibility that spending cuts and a change of government could send us backwards. Furthermore with the huge pressure to cut the deficit would it be conceivable to give equality and diversity equal priority to frontline services? The only area all political parties have expressed they will protect in the public sector.
 
Asked which political outcome would favour the Equality and Diversity Agenda, a Conservative government is the outcome most Equality Diversity Practitioners do not wish to see. Of 69 responses asking which government would favour the equality and diversity agenda not one respondent clicked in favour of the Conservative Party. Respondents favoured a Hung parliament or no response ahead of suggesting that the Conservatives would be good for equality.
 
0 out of 69 responses is pretty definitive of what practitioners think! Conversely the polls would suggest that the public at large may not be aware of what impact on equality Conservative rule potentially has. David Cameron regularly speaks of fixing “broken Britain” but without equality at the heart of their vision can we have a fixed society? None of our respondents seemed to think so.
 
Quoting a respondent who wishes to be anonymous
 
“I have serious concerns about the sustainability of equality and diversity work should a Conservative government be returned next month. A great deal of progress has been made in the past 5 - 7 years which could be lost in a different political climate. Ditto the threat to the Human Rights Act and implementation of the Equality Act.”
 
And another on the impact of spending cuts
 
“Our equality team has already been severely affected by spending cuts and I think that this trend is set to continue. Equality is often seen as a soft target for cuts because a lot of what we do is not visible and less tangible than some other services.”
 
Nearly half of all respondents expressed concern over spending cuts, with 33% expressing little anxiety over the prospect. 23.1 % of respondents were uncertain on how spending cuts would affect them directly. Most of those surveyed felt it was very likely that we will see spending cuts in equality and diversity programmes
 
Full Details of the survey can be viewed here
 
 
DiversityLink Publisher Asif Yusuf commented
 
“Equality is not a luxury it’s an essential element of a productive economy. If we are going to come out of this recession in good shape we won’t get there as easily without meritocracy and equality. Britain’s Equality and Diversity Practitioners have expressed a belief that this will not be delivered under Conservative rule. While some of the electorate may be fed up of the current regime it’s important to note the policies of the other parties, let’s vote with our heads not hearts.
 
Finally there is an important lesson for Equality and Diversity practitioners which we should have learnt from the last two recessions. Our work is very much invisible and when times get tough it’s easier to lump our efforts in with wasteful bureaucracy, putting us at the mercy of cuts. We need to do more to highlight our achievements and we need better promotion of our work to society at large. How much do the general public know about the function of Diversity practitioners? Organisations like the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners are perfectly positioned to tackle this challenge, but sadly have done little on this to date. I hope this survey will highlight the importance of the Equality and Diversity community working together in future”
 
Ends
 
Posted by Asif Yusuf

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